With culture wars raging, it matters that such an institution would reach out to Britain’s young for help with slang words
Anyone’s who’s played a heated game of Scrabble will know that the dictionary is much more than a simple resource that records and define common words. It is also a place where history and culture is preserved. When a word enters the dictionary, it is “real”; established, bona fide, and must be accepted. It plays an active role in defining not just words but our world.
So I was delighted to find that this week the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) asked the public to help give the dictionary treatment to some common youth slang words. They have asked children and teenagers to send in examples of current slang, and have apparently already been tracking the shifting meaning of words such as “bare” (intensifier, meaning very or a lot). “Peng” (meaning good-looking or of exceptional quality) and “lit” (meaning fun, exciting) can’t be far behind.