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The Ant's Pants? Oxford Dictionaries Adds 1,000 New Terms

With terms like mahoosive and al desko, the editors of OxfordDictionaries.com say they've made the largest quarterly update in their history, adding definitions for 1,000 words.

We'll clarify that while the digital service is affiliated with Oxford University, it's officially separate from the venerable dictionary.

The new additions range from pop culture ("xlnt" and "permadeath") to business-speak ("algorithmic trading").

"One of the benefits of our unique language-monitoring program is that it enables us to track in detail how English language evolves over relatively short periods of time," Oxford Dictionaries Editorial Director Judy Pearsall says. "For instance, in this age of the selfie, perhaps it's no surprise that average monthly usage of the term 'duck face' is 35 percent higher in 2014 than it was last year."

Here's a selected list of the new terms that the editors shared with us. We'll publish it here so you can celebrate your cultural currency — or shake your head at the whippersnappers who think they're all that:

  • al desko, adv. & adj.: while working at one's desk in an office (with reference to the consumption of food or meals)
  • algorithmic trading, n.: automated Stock Exchange trading by computers which are programmed to take certain actions in response to varying market data
  • arancini, pl. n.: an Italian dish consisting of small balls of rice stuffed with a savoury filling, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried
  • cappellacci, pl. n.: pieces of pasta stuffed with a filling of pumpkin (or other squash) and cheese and folded so as to resemble a hat
  • carne asada, n.: (in Mexican cooking) beef that has been marinated and grilled, typically served sliced in thin strips as a main course or as a filling in tacos, burritos, etc.
  • challenger bank, n.: (Brit.) a relatively small retail bank set up with the intention of competing for business with large, long-established national banks
  • chile con queso, n.: (in Tex-Mex cookery) a thick sauce of melted cheese seasoned with chili peppers, typically served warm as a dip for tortilla chips
  • cool beans, exclam.: used to express approval or delight
  • crony capitalism, n.: (derogatory) an economic system characterized by close, mutually advantageous relationships between business leaders and government officials
  • digital footprint, n.: the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity
  • duck face, n.: (informal) an exaggerated pouting expression in which the lips are thrust outwards, typically made by a person posing for a photograph
  • economic man, n.: a hypothetical person who behaves in exact accordance with their rational self-interest
  • five-second rule, n.: (humorous) a notional rule stating that food which has been dropped on the ground will still be uncontaminated with bacteria and therefore safe to eat if it is retrieved within five seconds
  • flash crash, n.: (Stock Exchange, informal) an extremely rapid decline in the price of one or more commodities or securities, typically one caused by automated trading
  • fone, n.: (informal) a phone
  • fresh-air fiend, n.: (Brit. informal) a person who is very keen on outdoor activities and (when indoors) on ventilated rooms
  • guanciale, n.: a type of Italian cured pork made from the cheeks of a pig
  • hawt, adj.: (chiefly US) informal spelling of 'hot'
  • IDC, abbrev.: (informal) I don't care
  • ish, n.: (US informal) used as a euphemism for 'sh–t'
  • jel, adj.: (informal, chiefly Brit.) jealous
  • lolcat, n.: (on the Internet) a photograph of a cat accompanied by a humorous caption written typically in a misspelled and grammatically incorrect version of English
  • mahoosive, adj.: (Brit. informal) exceptionally big; huge
  • MAMIL, n.: (Brit. informal) acronym: middle-aged man in Lycra. A middle-aged man who is a very keen road cyclist, typically one who rides an expensive bike and wears the type of clothing associated with professional cyclists
  • man crush, n.: (informal) an intense and typically non-sexual liking or admiration felt by one man for another; a man who is the object of another's intense liking or admiration
  • Marmite, n.2: used in reference to something that tends to arouse strongly positive or negative reactions rather than indifference
  • misery index, n.: an informal measure of the state of an economy generated by adding together its rate of inflation and its rate of unemployment
  • network marketing, n.: another term for 'pyramid selling'
  • Obamacare, n.: (in the US) an informal term for a federal law intended to improve access to health insurance for US citizens. The official name of the law is the Affordable Care Act or (in full) the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • permadeath, n.: (in video games) a situation in which a character cannot reappear after having been killed
  • PMSL, abbrev.: (vulgar slang, chiefly Brit.) p–ing myself laughing (used to express great amusement)
  • respawn, v.: (of a character in a video game) reappear after having been killed
  • Secret Santa, n.: an arrangement by which a group of friends or colleagues exchange Christmas presents anonymously, each member of the group being assigned another member for whom to provide a small gift, typically costing no more than a set amount
  • shabby chic, n.: a style of interior decoration that uses furniture and soft furnishings that are or appear to be pleasingly old and slightly worn
  • shiny bum, n.: (Austral./NZ derogatory) a bureaucrat or office worker
  • silvertail, n.: (Austral. informal) a person who is socially prominent or who displays social aspirations
  • simples, exclam.: (Brit. informal) used to convey that something is very straightforward
  • sticker licker, n.: (Austral. informal) an official who issues parking fines
  • tech wreck, n.: (informal) a collapse in the price of shares in high-tech industries
  • the ant's pants, n.: (Austral. informal) an outstandingly good person or thing
  • tiki-taka, n.: (Soccer) a style of play involving highly accurate short passing and an emphasis on retaining possession of the ball
  • tomoz, adv.: (Brit. informal) tomorrow
  • trofie, pl. n.: pasta in the form of short irregularly twisted pieces with pointed ends, traditionally eaten with pesto
  • WRT, abbrev.: with reference to
  • WTAF, abbrev.: (vulgar slang) what the actual f–
  • xlnt, adj.: (informal) excellent
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.