Pogonophobia and Other New Words Added to the OED This Year
Whether we notice it or not, our language is in constant flux. Cesar Chavez once said that “a language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.” At the end of the first quarter of 2017, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added about 500 words that reflect what it is like to occupy our particular place in culture and history, and how we’ve grown, or not.
Let’s give these words a warm welcome to the official record of our language: Pogonophobia, Freak Flag, Hate-watch, Sticky-outy, and 420 (Ok, 420 is number, not a word. Can numbers be added to the dictionary? I guess so. I mean, who are we to argue with the OED?)
- Pogonophobia, n. – Strong dislike of beards; irrational aversion to beardedness. Well, you probably won’t find many pogonophics in the hipster or lumberjack crowds, but whether it’s rational or not, there are enough folks out there so scared of facial hair that the phobia merits its own term.
- Sticky-outy, adj. – That which protrudes or sticks out. Yeah, sticky-outy is pretty much what it sounds like. It describes something that contains the quality of sticky-outyness. It can pertain to your hair, bellybutton, or anything else that protrudes. I leave it there.
- Freak Flag, n. – A trait or series of traits regarded as unconventional, esp. when exhibited openly, proudly, or defiantly: to openly or proudly exhibit such traits. Freak Flag was coined in 1967 by Jimi Hendrix in is song, “What if 6 was 9,” as he sung, “I’m gonna wave my freak flag high.” Thanks, Jimi! We’re going to let our freak flags fly for a long, long time to come.
- Hate-watch , v. trans. – to watch (a television program, performer, etc., considered inferior or irritating) in a spirit of mockery, as a form of entertainment. Well, I know I’ve been guilty of this on more than one occasion. A lot of viewers like to hate-watch Fox News or MSNBC, and I would imagine that there are a lot of hate-listeners out there too. So, when you watch this viral video of Kenny G playing saxophone on a plane for charity, you can pretend that you aren’t hate-watching and hate-listening, but here at Sporcle, we know better. Listening to Kenny G on your flight is still better than flying United, though, right?
- 420, n. – Used to refer to marijuana, or to the action of smoking marijuana. Yep, that’s right. The OED added 420. At this point, I can’t imagine that the term 420 needs much of an introduction. In stoner communities, theories about the origin of this term have abounded for years. Click here for more detail about this oft used word/number.
June will be the end of the next quarter, so we’ll check back then and see what strange and interesting words have crept into the OED. Well, at least the sticky-outy ones, anyway. Until then, let your freak flag fly, whether you suffer from pogonophobia, are a hate-watcher, or a 420er.
Matthew Groner is a Staff Writer for Sporcle. He enjoys foraging for gourmet mushrooms and calculating the odds of the Kansas City Chiefs winning a Super Bowl in his lifetime.