Posted on: 20 Jul 2012
Written by: joel
How would you like to participate in the evolution of the English language beyond simply, you know, speaking it? Well, thanks to Collins, you now have that opportunity. Through their website, www.collinsdictionary.com, they’re giving people the chance to submit words to their online dictionary. A democratic step forward and, happily for those of us unfortunate enough to hear what often passes for the English language, the process won’t be indiscriminate. Submitted words will need to pass an editorial evaluation based on objective criteria such as the frequency of a word’s use, how widespread its use is, whether it can be found in multiple uses and its potential longevity.
In the office we’ve been pouring scorn on some of the words submitted so far (partly because we’re English language snobs but mainly because we haven’t got any better suggestions). “Tweeps” (an amalgamation of the words “twitter” and “peeps”, meaning people) was met with particular ridicule. But Collins claims that “every word has to prove itself worthy of a place in our dictionary,” so we can probably count on “tweeps” not making the cut. On the other hand, “omnishambles”, originally coined by the brilliant BBC comedy In The Thick Of It and defined as “something which is completely and continuously shambolic”, will surely be plucked from the garbage heap of the English language and legitimized. If not, the editorial process will have been… an omnishambles.
If you or someone you know has been using an ingenious word for years that’s simply begging to be unleashed onto the world stage – what are you waiting for? Get across to Collins’ website. As an extra incentive, beyond the glory and honour that would inevitably accompany a successful word submission, you could even win a daily prize. Today’s offering, a life-size cardboard cut-out of Angelina Jolie at the Oscars, to celebrate the submission of “legbomb” (if you’ve seen said photo of Jolie you can probably guess this word’s meaning), may or may not be to your taste… but there’ll be plenty more prizes on offer until 31st August.