Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Oh, for goodness’ sake!

…or puh-leeze! The OED, in updating the alphabetical range porter to purposive, has added this, justifying its inclusion on the grounds that:
“Respelling is often used to convey qualities, such as emphasis or accent, which are easily distinguished in speech but difficult to express in written form. In this case, the respelling of please to indicate an emphatic or sarcastic pronunciation has become sufficiently well established to warrant inclusion in the OED as a separate entry”.

Also among the 2,785 new and revised entries in this range are psychonaut, pruno, and pudding-poke, while 310 new words and senses from across the alphabet have also been added, including aeroponics, ice-cream headache, guggle and saketini.

I have to say that I find none of the above interesting enough to make me want to look them up, since it is unlikely I shall ever use any of them; I already knew that a saketini is a cocktail made from sake but will never ask for one.

Another aspect of the OED’s constant updating is the search for earlier recorded uses of words already in the dictionary, and with the help of viewers to a BBC2 series many words have been updated. Most of the search list consisted of modern informal terms for which early documentary evidence has proved hard to track down. You can see some of the successful results here if you particularly want to know the early recorded use of such terms as dog’s bollocks (1981), mucky pup (1934), Glasgow kiss (1982), TWOC (1972), pole dance (1991), prat (1955), wazzock* (1976) and so on.

*I missed this one when writing this.

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