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"Woot" Becomes an Official Word 146

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the prescriptivists-mourn-death-of-language dept.
tekgoblin writes with a quick bit about new words in the COED. From the article: "Concise Oxford English Dictionary is the smaller but most widely recognized derivative of the official Oxford English Dictionary, which is celebrating this August its 100th anniversary. To celebrate, the lexicon published its 12th edition today that adds more than 400 new entries – many of which reflect the technological vocabulary found in today's society, like 'woot,' 'mankini,' and 'jeggings.'"
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"Woot" Becomes an Official Word

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  • First w00t! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jimbookis (517778) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:23PM (#37136796)
    Is it w00t or woot?
    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:35PM (#37136912)

      Is it w00t or woot?

      Both are perfectly cromulent words.

  • American Heritage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PCM2 (4486)

    I'm in the market for a good dictionary, but I think I'm going to wait until the 5th edition American Heritage comes out in November. That dictionary is pretty much the standard for most professional writers and editors in the U.S. I've also heard that the New Oxford American is a good dictionary -- some say better -- but I'm leaning toward the traditional.

    • If you've any connection to a university, you might consider taking advantage to OED online. Most university libraries have access to it and I imagine a good many public library systems will as well. Especially since that is the only way the full OED is to be published henceforth.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        I can't blame them for that. The unabridged OED was always a crush risk to children.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        I have no connection to any university, but the same is true of the San Francisco Public Library. I want a print dictionary.

        Also, the OED may be the "definitive" record of the English language, but that doesn't actually (believe it or not) make it the best dictionary. Proof? Oxford University publishes other dictionaries, not all of which draw from the text of the unabridged OED.

    • Are you talking about their electronic version?

      If so, I'm guessing you don't have a good smart phone/plan and must be away from your desktop most of the day.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        I am not talking about the electronic version, but your post makes no sense. If I was away from my desktop most of the day then a print dictionary wouldn't do me any good. On the other hand, if I didn't have a good smart phone/plan, then an electronic dictionary wouldn't do me any good. You seem to be arguing that I am beyond the aid of any dictionary. Which is kind of silly, because believe it or not, I was using dictionaries many years before the smartphone was invented.

    • by utkonos (2104836)

      The American Heritage Dictionary is a good dictionary. But understand that there are two basic types of dictionaries and it should be important to have one of each kind and understand the difference in the two styles of dictionaries. One type is descriptive [wikipedia.org]; the other is prescriptive [wikipedia.org]. This difference extends from the two types of linguistics that bear the same name. A descriptive dictionary looks at how language is practiced and pulls the definition from that. This type of dictionary is exemplified by

    • by westlake (615356)

      I think I'm going to wait until the 5th edition American Heritage comes out in November. That dictionary is pretty much the standard for most professional writers and editors in the U.S

      The American Heritage Dictionary has its origins in scenes like this:

      Mr. Wolfe is in the middle of a fit. It's complicated. There's a fireplace in the front room, but it's never lit because he hates open fires. He says they stultify mental processes. But it's lit now because he's using it. He's seated in front of it, on a chair too small for him, tearing sheets out of a book and burning them. The book is the new edition, the third edition, of Webster's New International Dictionary, Unabridged, published by the G. & C. Merriam Company of Springfield, Massachusetts. He considers it subversive because it threatens the integrity of the English language. In the past week he has given me a thousand examples of its crimes. He says it is a deliberate attempt to murder the --- I beg your pardon. I describe the situation at length because he told me to bring you in there, and it will be bad.

      Nero Wolfe [wikiquote.org]

      The Usage Panel makes it explicitly a writer's dictionary:

      For expert consultation on words or constructions whose usage is controversial or problematic, the American Heritage Dictionary relies on the advice of a usage panel. In its current form, the panel consists of 200 prominent members of professions whose work demands sensitivity to language. Present and former members of the usage panel include novelists (Isaac Asimov, Barbara Kingsolver, David Foster Wallace, and Eudora Welty), poets (Rita Dove, Galway Kinnell, Mary Oliver, and Robert Pinsky) playwrights (Terrence McNally and Marsha Norman), journalists (Liane Hansen and Susan Stamberg), literary critics (Harold Bloom), columnists and commentators (William F. Buckley, Jr., and Robert J. Samuelson), linguists and cognitive scientists (Steven Pinker and Calvert Watkins), and humorists (Garrison Keillor and David Sedaris).

      The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language [wikipedia.org]

    • The problem with the Oxford English Dictionary is that it has become the "Guinness World Records" of dictionaries - adding all sorts of dumb-assed "words" for no other reason than to make the headlines and be "hip", with one single goal - get press to sell whatever it is they sell.

      I'm guessing that they have some "on-line" product, as not too many people are buying huge multi-volume book series these days.

      But rest assured, adding all this trendy "1337" crap and other new words that the young folks are spewi

      • The OED reflects words in common usage at the time of the publication of the edition not necessarily words that have passed the test of time. Words are not removed so that someone is the future can read a book published x years previously and still have a reference guide for those that are now out of use and the reader has not previously seen defined or been taught. It is a reflection of what is in use not a conservative list of what should be in use if everyone spoke the same static language. If that we
      • by carndearg (696084) on Friday August 19, 2011 @04:46AM (#37139434) Homepage Journal
        Since the OED lexicographers are over an office divider from where I am sitting I guess I'm in a good position to answer this.

        The most important point to make about modern dictionaries is that they are descriptive not prescriptive. That is to say that they describe the language as it evolves rather than tell you how you should use it. Lexicographers are like scientists though they do not generally consider themselves as such, everything they include in their dictionaries has made it there through painstaking linguistic research.

        Please believe me when I tell you that my lexicographer colleagues have no interest in being 'hip'. Trust me on this one, I see them walk past my desk every day. Instead they are passionately interested in language and when a word has amassed enough evidence of usage in modern English they include it in their modern English dictionaries. Evidence of sufficiently common usage to be considered to have entered the language is their only value judgement.

        It is also worth spelling out the differences between the different Oxford dictionaries. The OED is a massive multi-volume historical dictionary based on human research. You would use it to find the etymologies of words over a milennium. The Oxford Dictionary of English and the Concise Oxford English Dictionary however are corpus based dictionaries, they are derived from computational analysis of a billion-plus word corpus of contemporary English. That kind of stuff should be right up the average Slashdotter's street. Thus words like 'woot' and 'leet' (The lexicographers are funny about numbers in words, don't blame me) will not have been selected for trendiness but because the corpus analysis tells us people are using them.

        The multi-volume book sells rather well as it happens. Not to many individuals but there are a lot of schools, universities and libraries in the world. And yes, we do have two dictionary [oxforddictionaries.com] websites [oed.com]. But as to a desperate attempt to stay profitable, the OED itself is not likely ever to do that. It took decades to produce its first edition, decades more for the second. We are a publishing company that is also a not-for-profit department of a major university so the OED is a project created for its academic value rather than its monetary return.
  • "Noob" is now also an official word in the dictionary. I suppose that means I have to actually add it to my browser's dictionary so it'll stop telling me it's not a real word. Take that, spellchecker!
  • Will we still get 5.00 shipping????

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Any schmuck can publish a dictionary, and there is no central authority that decides what is or isn't a word. If "woot" is appearing in dictionaries then that's all well and good as a sign that it's becoming more recognized by our culture, but that doesn't make it any more "official" of a word than it was last year.

    • by BluBrick (1924)

      The Oxford University Press is hardly "any schmuck"*. Appearing in The Concise Oxford English Dictionary is a sufficiently well-respected validation of a word that it is really not unreasonable to colloquially describe such a word as "official".

      *Anonymous Coward , on the other hand, pretty much is any schmuck!

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Yeah most of the popular dictionaries have been doing this for a few hundred years at least. There are a couple(I think oxford u based), that have been doing it closer to 600 years.

      • by carndearg (696084)
        It's nice to know that we're not "Any schmuck" :)

        However my lexicographer colleagues would take issue with their decision to include a word granting it any sort of "official" status. They are scientists though they often don't see themselves as such, all their inclusion means is that they have found sufficient evidence of the word's use for them to consider it to be part of their record of contemporary English.

        Whether a word is part of a user's "official" vocabulary is purely up to that user, not to a
    • What about Samuel Boswell?
    • Speak for your own country. In Finland, at least, we have Research Institute for the Languages of Finland [wikipedia.org].

      The Research Institute for the Languages of Finland is a governmental linguistic research institute of Finland geared at studies of Finnish, Swedish (Cf. Finland Swedish), the Sami languages, Romani language, and the Finnish Sign Language. The institute is charged with the standardization of languages used in Finland.

      Emphasis mine. In Swedish, there is a very similar body of Swedish Language Council [wikipedia.org].

      The Swedish Language Council (Swedish: Språkrådet) is the primary regulatory body for the advancement and cultivation of the Swedish language. The council is partially funded by the Swedish government and has semi-official status. The council asserts control over the language through the publication of various books with recommendations in spelling and grammar as well as books on linguistics intended for a general audience, the sales of which are used to fund its operation.

      You might also be interested in this rather long list of language regulators [wikipedia.org] from other countries. So there are indeed words and ways to spell them which are considered official.

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @09:04PM (#37137114)
    Now that COED have given it's approval, hopefully the Queen will have the good taste to call out the noobishness displayed by the looters and offer them a royal teabagging.
  • Woot; is the Baba Wawa superuser!

  • Are the others [collegehumor.com] soon to follow [collegehumor.com]?
  • "Woot!" It's sort of a decade too late, but I do still get some use out of the word.
    I also love how some people consider if may have been created due to the words wow and loot. Given that WoW was barely in development when I first noticed the word while playing quake. 0.o
  • but now I no longer have any respect for the OED

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It's a dictionary, it's supposed to add words as they come into the language and record the generally agreed upon spellings, not to define new words and dictate a spelling. Something which a lot of folks around here ought to realize before they make asses of themselves trying to stifle the language.

      loosers.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        loosers

        Ha! You almost got me with this one!=digest&topic_id=4776&forum=34

    • by snowgirl (978879) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @11:05PM (#37137816) Journal

      but now I no longer have any respect for the OED

      The OED is a descriptivist dictionary, as opposed to a prescriptivist dictionary. That means that the OED includes words that are actually being used, rather than prescribing which words should and should not be used. This means including words that many people object to, but too bad, there are a large number of people who use the word regardless of any official position about the word.

      If you want to speak a language which has a prescriptivist authority, then I recommend French or Spanish, they have institutes that declare what is and is not proper language, and if you disagree, then you're wrong. If you want a language that is generally descriptivist, then stick with the Germanic languages, where we recognize that the authority on language is a native speaker, and not some people locked up in a room declaring that "ain't isn't a word" even though 70% of the population uses it on a regular basis.

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        70% of the Anglosphere is using woot on a regular basis?

        Anyway, descriptivists like to portray themselves as men of the people. "We just note the words, we don't prescribe them."

        The problem with 100% descriptivism is that language is a social phenomenon. And when some comes to a place of work saying "ain't", he won't be lynched, but some people may view him as less educated.

        Again, this is because language is a social phenomenon.

        Any dictionary would be wise to note that certain words are view pejoratively by

        • by Jesus_666 (702802)

          70% of the Anglosphere is using woot on a regular basis?

          Anyway, descriptivists like to portray themselves as men of the people. "We just note the words, we don't prescribe them."

          The problem with 100% descriptivism is that language is a social phenomenon. And when some comes to a place of work saying "ain't", he won't be lynched, but some people may view him as less educated.

          Again, this is because language is a social phenomenon.

          Any dictionary would be wise to note that certain words are view pejoratively by certain speakers.

          But when you do that you lose the claim to purist descriptivism.

          I was going to agree but while writing this post I've come to the conclusion that the proper answer is "that depends".

          Most dictionaries do note where a word is appropriate, using tags like "colloquial", "pejorative" or "technical". That looks like prescription at first but can actually be purely descriptive. Noting that the definition "temporary data store" for "buffer" only applies in the context of computing does not make any statement about where it should be used; it describes where it will be underst

          • by snowgirl (978879)

            Right, so the word "nut" meaning a testis is only viewed as vulgar, because the OED declares that it is vulgar? Or perhaps, the OED labeled it "vulgar" because that's how people use it.

            As a test for if a dictionary is prescriptivist vs descriptivist, consider the situation where a word is not widely considered vulgar in the population, let's go with "apple". Would the dictionary fell justified in declaring this word to be vulgar apart from popular usage, and thus attempt to make the popular usage match the

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          70% of the Anglosphere is using woot on a regular basis?

          Hyperbole... look it up in a dictionary.

          Anyway, descriptivists like to portray themselves as men of the people. "We just note the words, we don't prescribe them."

          The problem with 100% descriptivism is that language is a social phenomenon. And when some comes to a place of work saying "ain't", he won't be lynched, but some people may view him as less educated.

          Again, this is because language is a social phenomenon.

          Any dictionary would be wise to note that certain words are view pejoratively by certain speakers.

          But when you do that you lose the claim to purist descriptivism.

          Noting the connotations that people will have to a word does not make it less of a descriptivist dictionary. You're not telling people to treat the word as slang, or vulgar, or colloquial, you're telling people looking up the word that most people have such connotations related to its use.

          The whole point I was trying to make is, "it's in the dictionary so it's a word" is not a valid argument when the dictionary is the OED, because the OED makes no such authoritative c

      • The OED is a descriptivist dictionary, as opposed to a prescriptivist dictionary. That means that the OED includes words that are actually being used, rather than prescribing which words should and should not be used. This means including words that many people object to, but too bad, there are a large number of people who use the word regardless of any official position about the word.

        If you want to speak a language which has a prescriptivist authority, then I recommend French or Spanish, they have institutes that declare what is and is not proper language, and if you disagree, then you're wrong. If you want a language that is generally descriptivist, then stick with the Germanic languages, where we recognize that the authority on language is a native speaker, and not some people locked up in a room declaring that "ain't isn't a word" even though 70% of the population uses it on a regular basis.

        If I had mod points I'd give 'em to your post. Sitting next door to the OED lexicographers I couldn't have put it better myself.

      • by zotz (3951)

        "The OED is a descriptivist dictionary, as opposed to a prescriptivist dictionary. That means that the OED includes words that are actually being used, rather than prescribing which words should and should not be used. This means including words that many people object to, but too bad, there are a large number of people who use the word regardless of any official position about the word."

        The problem is, we *want* to use slang when we use some of those words. If you go and make it an official word, we just h

        • by snowgirl (978879)

          Just because it's in the dictionary does not mean it is slang. In fact, I'm sure "jeggings" is marked with "slang". I'm for sure that "woot" is.

      • by Eivind (15695)

        German is like that too, in principle. Thing is, it's a continuum, and not a binary choice. No language is 100% prescriptive - if enough people use a certain word a certain way for a long enough period, then that word *does* have that meaning, and the people publishing dictionaries are left with choosing if they want to contain the words people actually use, or not.

  • Slashdot, verb: to send a much higher amount of internet traffic to a website due to a link to it being included in a post on Slashdot, sometimes resulting in said site becoming inaccessible due to the increased load.
    also slashdotted

  • This makes me very happy.

  • Too late. Woot sold out to Amazon.
  • ...when mankini was added? I never believed language-rape was possible, until now.
  • I know it's supposed to be referencing the Tag Team song Whoomp! There It Is, but I can't be the only one who read it as "thereitis", as if it's there just because it's there.

    Thereitis for Oxford English 2017.
  • It was at Oxford that some of the Monty Python troop began to display their talents for both erudition and silliness.

    Why can't the OED display both, as well?

  • woot! + grats! = woots!
  • Chinook Jargon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:04AM (#37138360) Journal

    Woot.com is one of the sponsors of a conference I attend. A couple years back they began giving each attendee a box of random swag - with the company logo: WOOT! on the box.

    When I brought it home after the conference and my wife saw it she couldn't stop laughing for several minutes.

    She's one of the several hundred remaining speakers of Chinook Jargon - a west-coast American Indian trade language that has become an L1 on at least one multi-tribe reservation. It seems that WOOT-l'et (my phonetic approximation, not one of the canonical spellings) is a word in that language for penis.

  • The Concise Oxford English Dictionary was today renamed to "T3h ub3r5h0r+ gr@mm4r h4ck3r5 ch34+ 5h34+". Co-author of the dictionary, Edmund Weiner (alias "w3iner69"), said the move was made "for teh lulz" and that "411 ur wrdz r b3lng 2 us". Leaked copies of the latest edition are in fact ROT13d, and editors appear to have adopted Unicode in order to create crude textual illustrations.

  • From the article:

    Since publishing its first edition back in 1911, the COED shows how the effects of social media and instant-access technology on language has created a variety of new words while modifying existing definitions such as “follower”.

    Wow, I didn't know that there already were social media and instant-access technology in 1911.

  • So do words have to get approval from dictionaries now to become a word? I'm pretty sure words like 'jeggings' and 'mankini' have been commonly known colloquialisms for a while now. '"Woot" becomes a word' is not a very accurate title.

  • Huzzah!
  • I'm just excited because I finally won a boc from woot.

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