The Oxford Dictionary adds BFF? Oh, no, they didn’t

Has the bar for new “words” been lowered so far that any collection of letters has become acceptable?

I’m not a big fan of acronyms, or abbreviations, or WYCT (whatever you call them). So you can imagine my dismay when I recently read a headline that said the New Oxford American Dictionary had added “BFF” to this year’s edition of the dictionary.

For those of you old-schoolers who actually speak using complete words, BFF stands for “best friend forever.” Kind of feels like the writing staff of “Hannah Montana” just picked up and moved their sparkly markers over to the New Oxford American Dictionary to work, if you ask me.

Also on the list of additions to this year’s edition (confusing, no?) is TTYL, which stands for “talk to you later.” And this is necessary and relevant why? People today are rushing by so quickly that they can’t stop long enough to say “talk to you later”? It’s enough to make me crazy, but whatev. (I was starting to type out whatever but frankly ran out of time. Oxford, I’m looking at you. I expect “whatev” to be in your book by next year.)

One term I thought actually deserved an entry was “double dip.” Any “Seinfeld” fan knows that there should be a word to describe what the bozo at the party does when he dips the same chip into the salsa twice without turning the chip so as not to offend (and contaminate) the entire party with his germs.

Then I realized that wasn’t the kind of “double dip” they meant. Instead they were referring to an adjective related to the economy, as in “higher food and energy prices could increase the risk of a double-dip recession.”

(Frankly, I’d kind of prefer to talk about tortilla chips than the recession, but OK, I’ll give Oxford that one.)

Also from the economic world, the word “zombie bank” has been added. It’s an informal noun that describes “a financial institution that is insolvent but that continues to operate through government support.” In my day we used to describe those banks as “closed for business,” but apparently adding the word “zombie” softens the realistic blow?

Another word that landed a spot in the “n” section of the dictionary is “nimrod.” Now here’s an example of an old word with a new meaning. The long-established, literal meaning of the word is “skillful hunter,” and the new definition is “an inept person.” Say what? I’d say a nimrod came up with that contradictory definition, and I don’t mean a skillful hunter.

And just when you thought it was safe to read your new dictionary, they went and added “nom nom.” The entry reads: “Nom nom is an expression of delight when eating.” According to Oxford, the origin is the noises Cookie Monster makes when eating a cookie.

Hear that sound? That’s me banging my head on my desk and weeping for the future.

When we are including the Cookie Monster’s guttural utterances to the dictionary what’s next? “Ruh-roh” from Scooby Doo? “Wawawawawa” from Charlie Brown’s teacher? “D’oh” from Homer Simpson? (Oh, wait…this just in…Oxford English Dictionary already added “d’oh.” My bad. D’oh!)

Speaking of characters, another addition to this year’s edition is “refudiate,” a nonexistent word made popular by Sarah Palin. I’m not going to touch that one with a 10-foot pole, mostly because it speaks for itself.

The definition of repudiate from the Oxford Dictionary is “verb used loosely to mean ‘reject.'” Which is exactly what I do to these new “words,” Oxford.

We are no longer BFFs. TTYL.

Eileen Burmeister is a corporate communicator in the Pacific Northwest.

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