Mansplaining to snowflakes – what’s new in the dictionary

Mansplaining, hangry and ransomware are among over 1,000 new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The handbook for the English language has introduced the variety of new phrases which have come into common use recently, with a mix of slang and technical terms among the new entries.

There are also a batch of ‘initialisms’, such as TTC – “trying to conceive” and ‘BFN’ or ‘BFP’ – “big fat negative” / “big fat positive”, referring to a pregnancy test result.

Both can be seen in use on Mumsnet, the online parenting forum, which shows the power of the internet in influencing what has been traditionally known as a printed publication. ‘Ransomware’ also makes it into the OED, having been very much in the news following the WannaCry cyber attack which affected the NHS last year.

‘Mansplaining’ is another addition – when something is explained “needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, especially to a woman, in a manner thought to reveal a patronising or chauvinistic attitude”.

It’s believed that the term originated from an internet exchange between a man and a woman in 2008.

And although ‘hangry’ – “bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger” – is another ‘new’ word, it can be traced back to a psychoanalytic journal.from 1956.

However, ‘snowflake’ – although being a considerably older meteorological term – now has a additional OED definition as “overly sensitive or as feeling entitled to special treatment or consideration”.

The OED consults experts to determine what should be added to its 829,000 words with the next update due in April 2018.

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