Words, language, meaning, narrative… these are things that I love, and that are essential to human culture. The English language is not a fixed point. Words come and go, and usage of old words is constantly changing. The path our language takes as it progresses can tell us a lot about our culture. Here’s a quick look at a few of the words we officially embraced in 2015 – one for every letter of the alphabet.
autotune: The correction of an out-of-tune vocal performance.
backronym: A fanciful expansion of an existing acronym or word, such as “port out, starboard home” for posh.
cosleeping: The practice of parents and one or more infants or small children sharing a bed while sleeping.
doxx: To publicly disclose the identity, address, or other personal details of someone, especially as a form of online harassment.
e-cigarette: you know the deal.
freegan: a vegan who obtains food by retrieving and using discarded food (dumpster diving).
grow-op: A place where pot is grown illegally.
humblebrag: A superficially modest or self-deprecating statement that is clearly intended to impress others.
interweb: The internet (humorous).
jank: Worthless, junky, low quality.
KKB: Filipino slang: “kanya kanyang bayad” to pay for your own meal.
listicle: An article or essay written in the form of a numbered list (you’re reading one).
meh: a dismissive interjection that means uninspiring, unexceptional, expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
nanosized: Having a size measured in nanometers.
oophagy: literally “egg eating”, is the practice of embryos feeding on eggs produced by the ovary while still inside the mother’s uterus.
photobomb: spoil a photograph of (a person or thing) by unexpectedly appearing in the camera’s field of view as the picture is taken.
q: none this year. 2007 was the last big year for the letter q, including the word queek – a person who is queer who is also simultaneously a geek.
redpoint: free-climbing a route, while lead climbing, after having practiced the route beforehand.
sexting: If this isn’t a sign of the times, I don’t know what is.
toe sock: A close-fitting sock with a separate sheathe for each toe.
uber: prefix denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.
vape: inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.
webisode: an original episode derived from a television series, made for online viewing.
XL & XXL: the size you are trying to avoid officially made it in.
yarnstorm: The action or an act of covering or decorating public objects with colourful knitted or crocheted items; an instance or example of yarn bombing.
z: none this year, although zip got a new meaning in 2011 – an ounce of pot.