Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 15:10 UK

Lexicographers prefer a mankini

By Dhruti Shah

Sacha Baron Cohen in a mankini
The mankini has made it into the Collins English Dictionary

Twitter, soz and gourmet sex are just some of the terms that are due to make their first appearance in the Collins English Dictionary later this week.

More than 260 new phrases are due to be included in the 30th anniversary edition due out on September 3.

Editorial director Elaine Higgleton said there has been a rise in topics connected with the digital culture.

These include subjects as varied as the BBC's iPlayer, cloud computing, instant messaging and "Avid farts".

For those whose minds have wandered elsewhere, the "farts" describe a "flashy and intrusive visual effects editing style".

And while Borat's lime-green mankini may have been a tad distasteful, by donning it in the film of the same name, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen ensured the swimsuit a place in the dictionary.

However John Darwin, the canoeist who faked his own death to collect a massive insurance payout, may now be wishing he had never heard of pseudocide as he sits in his prison cell.

'Acquisitive language'

The 267 words eventually chosen for the new edition were those that had come into popular use since 2006, and had been picked up a number of times by the Collins Corpus - a digital archive monitoring the usage of 2.5bn words from a variety of sources.

A final selection was then made by human lexicographers.

Ms Higgleton said: "English is an acquisitive language which takes terms from a variety of sources and areas.

"What we found extremely interesting is that the language has a lot of interjections and sounds that are made when people speak.

New dictionary words
beer o'clock n facetious the time of day when it is acceptable or customary to start drinking alcohol
dubstep n a genre of electronic music conveying a dark and brooding atmosphere through prominent bass lines
frugalista n informal a person who tries to stay fashionably dressed on a budget
mwah interj a representation of the sound of a kiss
off-grid adj not involving or requiring the use of mainstream sources of energy

"And when people use social networking sites and instant messaging they are now writing these sounds down - exactly as they are being said."

It means phrases such as "hey-ho" and "heh heh" are now immortalised in print - for the next edition of the dictionary at least.

Ms Higgleton said the terms showed a snapshot of how the world had changed since the last Collins dictionary was published in 2007.

There appears to have been an increased awareness of environmental issues with the inclusion of carborexic (a person obsessed with reducing their carbon footprint), ecolodge (a sustainable hotel) and craggers (a member of a carbon reduction action group) .

Farmers Michael and Joy Michaud never thought that they would ever create something that would enter the dictionary.

But they were delighted when their extremely hot Dorset Naga chilli was deemed popular enough to appear.

Mrs Michaud told the BBC: "It is wonderful news. We thought it had just become famous within the chilli world but it really has taken on a life of its own."

However inclusion in the dictionary has not impressed everyone who made the grade.

Collins English Dictionary 2009
The words all feature in the 30th anniversary edition

Journalist Robert Fisk, whose often controversial stories have been intensively targeted by critics, has inspired the slang term "fisk" - meaning to refute or criticise an article point by point.

He told the BBC: "The internet has created a new hatred."

Linguistics expert David Crystal said he was not surprised that the world wide web had played a big part in providing new words for inclusion.

He said: "In the early years, the internet was pretty isolated. If I was blogging, I was doing it on my own and I would have very little idea if anyone was reading my work or not.

"Any new words I tried to introduce may not have been picked up. Even with instant messaging, that was originally just two people and the odds of generating new popular words were possible but unlikely.

"However the surge in social networking sites results in an increased likelihood of new words being used by a wider audience."

Print Sponsor

German language adds 5,000 words
22 Jul 09 |  Europe
The words in the mental cupboard
28 Apr 09 |  Magazine
Forty-year wait for new thesaurus
06 Jul 09 |  Oxfordshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific