A new (12th) edition of Chambers Dictionary was published today. It's a bit behind some of its rivals, Collins and Oxford, for instance, as some of the new words in this edition (OMG, meh, staycation, and quantitative easing, among others) made it into other dictionaries a year or so ago. It updates the 11th edition of 2008 (which I blogged on at the time here).
Chambers has more words than most of its rivals of a similar size. It crams them in, for one thing, not including a lot of illustrative example sentences (as the single-volume ODE does, for instance). It is not encyclopedic, so you won't find names of people or cities in, meaning it can have more lower-case words. Chambers doesn't like taking words out of the dictionary once they get in, so they have to be more circumspect. Moreover, Chambers likes to include Scottish words (like 'rudas', a foul-mouthed old woman), so that's an extra batch.
Dictionaries are updated because the language changes so quickly, and the language changes because society changes. Dictionaries reflect the society around them. Hence a quarter of the new entries in this new edition are technology- and internet-related. Examples include:
paywall: access to a website for paying customers only
crowdsourcing: attempting to solve a problem by getting suggestions from lots of people on the internet
blook: a printed book reproducing the content of a blog
minisode: shortened episode of a TV show, especially one shown over the internet
A number have a financial theme:
bad bank: bank set up to administer unprofitable assets
haircut: a proportion of an asset paid to the broker when the asset is used as collateral in a transaction
toxic asset: financial asset liable to cause a loss
Environment-related words are well represented:
e-waste: discarded electrical equipment
green collar: jobs in the environmental sector
season creep: the observed changes in the timing of the seasons
precycle: avoid unnecessary waste by buying products with minimal packaging
rewild: release an animal from captivity or return land to its natural state
Just one specifically women-related word is in the new batch of entries, and it's not a nice word: skank (promiscuous girl or woman). There are more 'men's' words, eg man up (to accept responsibility in the manner of a mature person), bromance (a close, but not romantic or sexual, relationship between two men) and man flu, defined by Chambers in its inimitable style as 'a heavy cold (from the idea that men tend to exaggerate the seriousness of the condition)'.
Other interesting new entries are:
globesity: worldwide epidemic of obesity
mocktail: a non-alcholic cocktail
Perhaps more interesting are the words that didn't make it this time, but are on Chambers 'words to watch' list. Maybe they'll be in the 13th edition. These include:
competitive commuting: racing another cyclist while commuting on a bike
eco-bling: household gadgets, supposedly eco-friendly, but in reality not saving much energy
splog: spam blog, used by a blogger to promote other blogs
Chambers is a great dictionary to sit and read for fun, although it has quirky and idiosyncratic spellings and many of its entries are very obscure indeed. It is renowned for the humour of its definitions (see the end of this old post, and the beginning of this one). It does have some great words, though, such as thunder-plump (a heavy fall of rain in a thunderstorm), hogen-mogen (high and mighty) and tickly-benders (thin ice that breaks underfoot). It is words like this that Chambers is famous for, and such words are highlighted with a star in this latest edition.
All the newspapers are reporting this story today, but for more information than is contained there, you can download a press pack (be warned - it's a large file!) about the new dictionary from Chambers' site.