Snowclone, mockumentary, retcon, geobragging, Tweet cred, staycation. So many new words have joined the English dictionary within the last ten years. Such a mass proliferation is due to social media, pop culture, technological advances and manufacturers, which have given concurrent rise to new descriptive categories of metawords. It’s not enough to know your nouns, gerunds, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, articles, conditional clauses, and past participles anymore; even today’s non-linguist must understand the “electives” of neologisms (crowdsourcing, muffin top), portmanteaus (bootylicious, mockumentary), hyphenates (photobombing), memes (honey badger, earworm), phonological words (fanfreakingtastic), and generonyms (Band-Aid, elevator), too. It’s an extended course curriculum that sets my head abuzz.
So many existing nouns have been repurposed into verbs. To say nothing of trademarked brand names that have, much to the annoyance of their respective manufacturers, have fallen into the public domain and become common verbiage. To Google means to look something up online. To Tweet means to give your two cents online. To Xerox means to make a hardcopy facsimile of a document. Hand me that Kleenex, because facial tissue is too long (and boring) to say. Let’s not even julienne follicles with split infinitives, either (“to boldly go where no one has gone before”).
Wanna sound smart? There’s no better way to demonstrate your knowledge of the latest additions by using one (or two) of the titled nouns in a sentence. Check for another 100 or so neologisms to join your favourite dictionary in the new year, because society and technology do drive vocabulary.