The Oxford English dictionary updates every three months. New words are included and older entries are updated to more accurately reflect their usages. 

Knowing the new additions to the reputable dictionaries will help keep you in the loop. Especially if you speak English in a professional setting and need to stay abreast of changes in language and culture.  

The Covid19 pandemic saw a host of new terms written up in dictionaries. Many of these are relevant to the professional world, given the change in the way people around the word work every day. Social movements and shifts in the political- and consumer climate also contributed to new dictionary entries. Knowing these new terms is important: being culturally clued-up when you are around your co-workers, employers or employees will go a long way in fostering friendly and productive work-place relationships. Along with these terms, are a few words that have been in the common lexicon for a while and that are now so common, most English speakers will be expected to know them. Have a look at the following additions:  From the Oxford English dictionary, New Words List 

allyship, noun: “The state or condition of being or having an ally.” 

contactless, adjective and noun: “Not involving contact; especially lacking or avoiding social or physical contact.” 

defund, transitive verb: “To withdraw funding from (an enterprise, institution, etc.), either wholly or in part.” 

doxing, noun: “The action or process of searching for and publishing private or identifying information about a particular individual on the internet.” 

gig economy, noun: “A labour market characterized by a prevalence of short-term contracts and freelance work, as distinct from permanent, full-time employment.” 

livestream, noun: “A live broadcast of an event, etc., over the internet.”  

media literacy, noun: “Proficiency in the evaluation, analysis, and understanding of mass media; especially the ability to analyse critically any story or event.” 

overshare, noun: “An amount or allocation that is more than normal, expected, or deserved; a disproportion.”  

sofa surfer, noun: “A person who (habitually) engages in passive and sedentary activities, especially television watching.” 

virtue signalling, noun: “The action or practice of expressing one’s views or acting in a way thought to be motivated primarily by a wish to exhibit good character.” 

zoomer, noun: “Originally and chiefly North American. Frequently with capital initial. A boomer who has now reached middle or retirement age and.”  

Vocabulary in context: 

Pamela and Miguel are recruitment consultants working at a fictional start-up, Next Step Recruitment. Though their work is fully remote, Next Step organizes staff get-togethers at the same sushi restaurant once a month.  Pamela and Miguel have run into each other on the sidewalk while they were both on their way to the restaurant. 

Pamela: Miguel! I thought that was you! 

Miguel: Hey Pamela. I thought I might run into you today, you live just around the corner, don’t you? 

Pamela: Sure do. Why are you walking, Miguel? I thought you lived quite far from here. 

Miguel: I do, yeah. But I don’t mind the walk, honestly. Hope this isn’t an overshare, Pamela, but I’ve been an absolute sofa surfer these past few weeks. I’ve been going around in my pyjamas and working from bed. I feel like a right Zoomer. 

Pamela (laughs): I’ve been there, Miguel. Working from can be crazy-making sometimes, right? I saw a livestream on work-life balance yesterday and the presenter said creating boundaries between your work-life and home-life is super important when you work remotely.  

Miguel: Yeah, but how do we do that? I feel like my life just sort of blends together.  

Pamela: Mmm, the presenter said that changing your outfit when you’re done working for the day will help. 

Miguel (laughs good humouredly): Come on, Pamela! That’s not going to work, you can’t believe everything you hear online. What about media literacy 

Pamela: Don’t knock it till you try it!  

Miguel: Okay, okay, I’ll give the outfit-thing a shot. But if it doesn’t work, we need to dox that presenter.  Miguel and Pamela walk past coffee shop with LGBTQ rainbow flag displayed in the window.  

Pamela: Hey, do you think we have time for a coffee? I love this café, and allyship is so important these days. 

Miguel: Sure, let’s pop in. Do you think they have contactless, though? I didn’t have time to go shopping this week and I’m out of hand sanitizer. 

Pamela: I think they do, but they’ll have hand sanitizer at the till too. Why don’t you pay someone to do your shopping, by the way?  

Miguel: Well, I don’t really want to support the gig economy – workers should have rights, like pension and sick leave. 

Pamela: Now you’re just virtue signalling 

Miguel: No, I’m totally serious. I think companies that pay freelancers next-to-nothing should be defunded 

Pamela: Interesting point of view…. Let me buy you a cup of coffee and we can have a friendly debate. 

Miguel: Sounds good! 

* The email will not be published on the website.