Oxford English Dictionary offers definition of Brexit as it adds new words

The OED notes the 'impressive' speed with which the word has become widely known

Harriet Line
Thursday 15 December 2016 01:56
Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in November
Pro-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in November

Theresa May famously declared that “Brexit means Brexit”, but now the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has come up with its own definition.

Six months after the Prime Minister first delivered the elusive explanation, lexicographers have clarified that “Brexit” is “the (proposed) withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and the political process associated with it”.

The definition continues: “Sometimes used specifically with reference to the referendum held in the UK on 23rd June 2016, in which a majority of voters favoured withdrawal from the EU.”

“Brexit” has been added to the OED this month, noting the “impressive” speed with which it became widely used.

Lexicographers said the word filled an empty space in the language, but is now used globally to describe the phenomenon - appearing in many foreign language newspapers.

Grexit - to define “the (potential) withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone monetary union” - was added as well.

The OED has also included the American slang “get your freak on” - meaning to “engage in sexual activity, especially of an unconventional or uninhibited nature” and “to dance, especially in an uninhibited, wild, or exuberant fashion” in its latest update.

“Glam-ma”, a glamorous grandmother, and “verklempt” - meaning to be overwhelmed with emotion - will also now feature among the dictionary's 829,000 words, senses and compounds.

A selection of surfing terms such as “break” - a “place in the sea where waves break” - and “bomb” to mean a “very large, powerful wave” have also been added.

The OED constantly reviews potential words to include in the dictionary - assessing if they have been used a number of times independently and for a reasonable amount of time before they can be included.

Press Association

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