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Online dictionary registers latest in 'amazeball' words; Amazeballs, Locog and mummy porn are among the new terms included in a new online edition of the Collins English Dictionary. But what do they all mean? Darren Devine reports.

Byline: Darren Devine

READ any amazeballs mummy porn lately? Struggling with that sentence? Don't worry, you're almost certainly not alone.

Because terms like "amazeballs" and "mummy porn'" are newly arrived in the English language and have just been included in the online version of the Collins English Dictionary.

More than 80 new words and terms have been added - having emerged from sources like the internet and publishing.

"Amazeballs" is slang for giving fervent approval to something, while "mummy porn" was coined when the erotic fiction novel Fifty Shades of Grey, by British author EL James, shot to popularity this year.

Publishers Collins said they were "blown away" by the thousands of entries they received for their online resource, after inviting the public to become "wordspotters" and suggest new and emerging words for inclusion.

Collins said opening the normally closed process would make the way the English language is recorded more democratic.

Author Philip Pullman, who spent his formative years in Harlech, but is now based in Oxford, said the true test of any word is longevity.

The author of the best-selling His Dark Materials trilogy questioned how many of the new entries will still be in use in a year or two's time.

He said: "I'm not sure mummy porn will last very long. If it's still there in 50 years it then becomes a word."

Mr Pullman, 65, said that although the internet was now one of the main mediums for being playful and creative with language the trait long pre-dated the technology.

The author, who credits his former English teacher Enid Jones from Ysgol Ardudwy in Harlech, Gwynedd, with stimulating his interest in writing, said: "Kids do that in school - make up words. It's funny, it's lively and it's part of the way language develops and I'm all in favour of it. I suppose there's room for a digital way of keeping track of these things, but most of them will not last more than a year and we can't tell now which ones will and which ones won't."

Other new entries to the dictionary include "frenemy", "shabby chic", "tiger mother" and "floordrobe".

A frenemy is both a friend and a rival, shabby chic is interior design using distressed furnishings for romantic effect, while a tiger mother is a demanding mum who pushes her children to achieve academically. A floordrobe is a pile of clothes in front of a wardrobe.

Tanya Clarke, 30, from Nottingham, who submitted "amazeballs", said: "I first saw it on Facebook and I just thought it was really cool.

"My daughter is 10 and she uses it all the time. I think it is one of those words that will be used a lot by teenagers and pre-teens."

Abbreviations such as Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) have also been added, as well as marra, a Northern Irish word for "mate".

The entries will now be considered for the dictionary's print edition, but people can continue to submit words to Collins' online resource to ensure it remains up to date.

Criteria for inclusion include frequency of use, number of sources and staying power.

Alex Brown, head of digital at Collins, said: "We were optimistic about just how keen people would be to take part, but have been blown away by the volume and variety of submissions, and the way that this opportunity to contribute and help document the English language has captured the public imagination.

"We look forward to receiving more submissions over the coming months and years, and, as the pace of change within the English language continues to accelerate, the contributions by eagle-eyed and sharp-eared word-spotters will become increasingly important."

EVER AT A LOSS FOR A WORD TO EXPRESS JUST THAT FEELING? BRIDEZILLA: Slang for a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as intolerable, ie, "She was a total bridezilla, demanding everyone from the priest to the page boy turned up in pink."

CLAUSTROPHILIA: Abnormal pleasure derived from being in a confined space ie, "His claustrophilia was overwhelming - he'd shut himself away in cluttered cupboards and stay in the lift for hours on end."

HANGRY: A way to suggest you are irritable as a result of feeling hungry ie, "It's 7pm and I haven't eaten since breakfast. I'm feeling very hangry."

HELICOPTER PARENT: A parent who is excessively involved in the life of his or her child, ie, "This year's PTA was jammed with helicopter parents wanting to know the ins and outs of their children's lives."

JOG ON: Slang for go away, ie, "He asked for pounds 1,000 just to paint my kitchen so I told him to jog on."

OOJAMAFLIP: Slang a thing whose name is temporarily forgotten, ie, "Where's the oojamaflip? I thought I'd left it next to the telly."

LUSH: A heavy drinker, especially an alcoholic, ie, "He was a right lush and in the end his liver packed up." SOURCE: COLLINS ONLINE DICTIONARY


* Collins English Dictionary was 'blown away' when it asked people to come up with new words they'd heard which should be included in its online dictionary
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Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 11, 2012
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