Saturday 25 November 2017

Weevil overtakes Egyptians in latest Oxford dictionary

New entry: The zyzzyva weevil
New entry: The zyzzyva weevil
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The Egyptians thought that they had the last word but now a tropical weevil has overtaken them.

'Zyzzyva' is the new final entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, taking the title from 'zythum', a word used to describe a type of ancient Egyptian malt beer.

Zyzzyva is a genus of tropical weevils native to South America. It is typically found near palm trees and the word is believed to be derived from the sound the weevil makes.

It is among a tranche of new words that have been added to the OED, which contains 829,000 words, senses, and compounds. 'Superbrat' and 'tennis mom' also made the cut.

As has the new usage of the word 'thing' which according to the OED is now used "in questions conveying surprise or incredulity, such as 'how can that be a thing?'"

The OED believes this usage can be traced back to an early episode of hit US TV series 'The West Wing'.

Obsessions with all things bridal are also reflected in the latest additions.

A variety of different veils including 'birdcage veil', 'blusher veil', 'cathedral veil', and 'fingertip veil' have all been added to the OED.

Speaking about how a word qualifies for inclusion, the OED said: "(We) require several independent examples of the word being used, and also evidence that the word has been in use for a reasonable amount of time.

"We also look for the word to reach a level of general currency where it is unselfconsciously used with the expectation of being understood."

Irish Independent

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