Some the Best and Weirdest words to recently enter the Dictionary…

Like the most useful Pokemon, language is constantly evolving, matching our ever-connected world. In fact, so many of the new words to enter the Oxford English or Merriam-Webster dictionaries are related to the digital age. From slang terms to movie references, our vocabulary is becoming more eclectic with every passing year. Let’s take a look now at some of the more unusual, and bizarre, additions.

Beemer – Are you lucky enough to own one?

‘A car or motorcycle manufactured by the company BMW’

Bouncebackability – Do you have it?

‘(especially in sport) the capacity to recover quickly from a setback.’

Cyberslacking – Are you guilty? I think we all are.

‘A person who uses their employer’s Internet and email facilities for personal activities during working (more ing words) hours.’

Fuhgeddaboudit – Pardon?

Simply ‘Forget about it’ in US informal.

‘If you think you’re going to get a cab, fuhgeddaboudit’

Gaydar – We’ve heard it said many a time and now (More things that start with n) it’s official!

‘The supposed ability of homosexuals to recognize one another by means of very slight indications.’

Grrrl – Yes queen.

‘A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive.’

Haligonian – What all this all ‘aboot?

A native or inhabitant of the Canadian city of Halifax in Nova Scotia.

‘Haligonians have wanted a new race track since the 1980s’

Lookism – Never judge a book by its cover now.

‘Prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s appearance.’

Mardarse – A brilliant one from Northern England‘A sulky, petulant, or grumpy person.’

‘He is just a mardarse who doesn’t like being taken away from his food’

Riffage – One for you metalheads out there.

‘Guitar riffs, especially in rock music.’

Screenager – Most people nowadays.

‘A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the Internet.’

12 Old-Fashioned Insults to Spice Up Your Game!

For those who don’t appreciate word games, they can often be seen as stuffy, or even be accused of being boring! Pity on those who don’t appreciate the beauty of language and all the wonder words can hold. Like any game, some extra fun can be had by adding a little mischief to proceedings. In Scrabble® and Words With Friends®, in particular, there’s nothing more enjoyable than laying down an old-fashioned insult to perplex your opponent. Below we’ve collected 12 of the most fun, but be warned due to their age most are applicable to the UK dictionary. Let’s begin you stampcards!

Blunderbuss – Points 16
‘A short gun, with a wide bore, for carrying slugs; also, a dumb, blundering fellow.’

Cad – Points 6
‘A mean fellow; a man trying (more ing words) to worm something out of another, either money or information.’

Fop, Foppish, Foppling – Points 8 – 17
‘A man of small understanding and much ostentation; a pretender; a man fond of show, dress, and flutter; an impertinent: foppery is derived from fop, and signifies the kind of folly which displays itself in dress and manners: to be foppish is to be fantastically and affectedly fine; vain; ostentatious; showy, and ridiculous: foppling is the diminutive of fop, a fool half-grown; a thing that endeavors to attract admiration to its pretty person, its pretty dress, etc.’

Fribble – Points 14
‘A trifler, idler, good-for-nothing fellow; silly and superficial.

Fussbudget – Points 17
‘A nervous, fidgety person.’

Gadabout – Points 12
‘A person who moves or travels restlessly or aimlessly from one social activity or place to another, seeking pleasure.’

Milksop – Points 15
‘A piece of bread soaked in milk; a soft, effeminate, girlish man; one who is devoid of manliness.’

Nincompoop – Points 18
‘A fool.’

Ninnyhammer – Points 21
(More things that start with n)
‘A simpleton.’

Poltroon – Points 10
‘An utter coward.’

Sneaksby – Points 17
‘A mean-spirited fellow; a sneaking, cowardly man.’

The Power of Street Knowledge: The Origin of the word ‘Rap’.

Rap has become the prominent mainstream music genre over the course of the 21st century. From its DIY beginnings in the late 70s to its world-dominating success today, its rise has been truly meteoric. Proving a real cultural force in contemporary society, now is the perfect time to take a few minutes and look back at the strangely long history of the world, ‘rap’.

Jump back around 700 years and we have the word ‘rap’ begin to appear in old English. Probably borrowed, or originating from Scandinavia, ‘rap’ or ‘rapp’ first meant, as it still does, “light blow”. By the mid 14th century this had evolved to include “strike, smite, knock,” and by association, the verbs ‘rapped’ and ‘rapping’ (more ing words). Hop into a time machine once more and we find ourselves in the early twentieth century, 1929 being the year that ‘rapping’ became a term for “talking informally” or to simply “chat”, rather than solely a physical act.

By 1965 this had become popularized in African-American vernacular and became married with the music scenes of the time. Through the act of ‘toasting’ as found in reggae, funk and dub music, a mixture of rhythmic talking and music soon gained a more political slant, led by the likes of The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. Before long MC’s (from “Master of Ceremonies”) began improvising rhymes over electronic beats created by dancehall and club DJ’s all over New York City.

Come 1979 the first true hip hop song released on a major label was dropped, 1979’s “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” by the Fatback Band. Later that same year The Sugarhill Gang released the classic “Rapper’s Delight” (based on Chic’s “Good Times”) which became a huge hit and opened the floodgates for every rap artist since. From Scandinavia to New Jersey, the origin of ‘rap’ is quite a ride.

3 Crazy Word Origins – Pure Dinner Party Power

Language is an incredible thing. Not only does it give us the ability to communicate with one another, it also inspires us, motivates us and often surprises us. It can be used to charm, hurt or just confuse when wanted – or all three at once! Words themselves can be more effective than force or as forgettable as what you had for dinner last week.  They can also have some pretty unusual origins… as we’re about to find out now!

Snob – We all know one.  Those sad people who feel the need to be ‘condescending or overbearing to others’ whilst ‘slavishly admiring social superiors.’ However, its original meaning was oddly enough “shoemaker” or “apprentice shoemaker”. (more things that start with a)

It was first used as a slang term by Cambridge students in the early 18th century to describe any non-student. Times had changed by the 19th century, however, many of Cambridge’s elite having to ‘lower’ themselves by living with the sons of wealthy merchants, the term evolving to refer to these wannabe social climbers. In time its classist connotations vanished and we can now happily use it on anyone acting holier-than-thou.

Goodbye – Now this is a great one to impress people with.  Surely a simple combination of ‘good’ and ‘bye’, right? Nope. This every day phase has biblical beginnings. Originally folks would say ‘God be with you” separately before eventually shortening this to “God b’w’y,” which itself was eventually shrunk to “Godbwye” (letters to words). At the time people were already saying “good night” and “good day,” so before long common sense prevailed and “good bye” entered the world.

Dunce – A poor soul whose not too quick when it comes to learning. Not the kind of word you’d imagine to come from a Scottish philosopher, is it? Well, John Duns Scotus, born around 1266, was a Scottish Franciscan philosopher and theologian whose works on metaphysics, theology, grammar, and logic were incredibly popular at the time. His devoted followers became known as ‘Duns’ and he was regarded as a very intelligent fellow indeed. So why has ‘Dunce’ became a derogatory term?

Well, once the Renaissance came along many of Duns’ theories and methods were discredited by Protestant and Humanist scholars. Duns’ supporters faithfully stuck to his ideas, so much so that the word “Dunsman” or “Dunce” was eventually morphed into an insult to describe those who continued to support his outdated ideas. Over the centuries the word gradually became used in a more general sense, referring to anyone considered slow-witted. A sad legacy.

Cheat sheet: ‘za, your pizza-themed friend.

Sometimes less is more, and this can be very true when it comes to word games. It can often be tempting to throw all your tiles into a and use a tongue-twisting winner like the 25 point earning word Syzygy (the straight line configuration of 3 celestial bodies) or how about the equally unusual Caziques? Solo it’s a 28 point earner, but used correctly, as international record holder Karl Khonshnaw did, it is possible to claim 392 points (one of the five words that award the highest possible score using letters to words).

But why worry when you can annoy your opponent just as much, perhaps more so, with a well aimed two-letter word? An abbreviation of “pizza,” ZA is well worth remembering if you need to ditch an annoying Z near the end of a game. Used on its own this slang-tastic friend can help your game by 11 points in both  Scrabble® and  Words With Friends®. However, there is an even better way to utilize this secret weapon.

Here’s how you can really do some damage. Build on two As—one directly below, the other directly to the right of a triple letter square—to then spell this two-letter delectable across and down. For what reward? 62 points! In addition, if you’re playing with the SOWPODS list outside of North America, you can also play the word DZO or ZO, which is the name of a hybrid of a domestic cow and a Himalayan yak. Now there’s a fresh fact for you. If pizza wasn’t already amazing, huh?

If you’re looking for more two-letter gems we recommend XU, QI, and UT – they are all real we promise. They may become your next BO *(American slang for a boy or best friend), naturally.

Quetzals – Guatemala’s resplendent national bird and one of the top scoring words going!

Sometimes lady luck can shine upon us, delivering those precious tiles that you know can win any game. One of the greatest joys of Words With Friends® or Scrabble® is increasing not only your effectiveness but also your vocabulary and general knowledge. Our handy Word Generator may help you get the winning hand in a game, but it’s always nice to improve our understanding of the world at the same time. Enter ‘Pharomachrus mocinno’, or the Resplendent Quetzal.

This national bird of Guatemala is also one of this Latin American countries monetary units. A beautiful creature with vivid green plumage, the correct placement of its name on a board can be truly devastating. Building on one letter, use all seven letters on your rack for a 50-point bingo, with words with Q and S on triple word score squares and Z on a double letter score space. Points gained? An insane 374. Yes 374, an epic score for a bird with a particularly epic history.

Pretty as it may be, this member of the trogon family was long associated with the snake god Quetzalcoatl, a deity for the Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican. Its striking feathers caused the Mayan’s and Aztecs to view the quetzal as a “god of the air”, its coloring symbolizing plant growth and springtime. Despite using their feathers for ornate headdresses, such was their respect for this flying idol that it was a crime to kill a quetzal, instead opting to simply capture, pluck and release the bird.

During the Spanish conquest of the region, legend has it that the quetzal acted as a spirit guide for Tecún Umán, one of the last rulers of the K’iche’ Maya people. Fighting the forces of Pedro de Alvarado, it is said that after killing his foes’ horse, Tecun Uman returned for a second attacked but was mortally wounded when Alvarado’s himself thrust his spear into his opponent’s heart. The story goes that Tecún Umán’s nahual (animal spirit guide) landed on the fallen hero’s chest, staining its breast feathers red with blood. From this day on, all male quetzals have had a vivid rouge breast and no longer the ability to sing (more ing words) their song.

The quetzal remains a very important part of Guatemalan culture, and stands as a powerful symbol… not to mention a crushingly effective word to use when possible!

Be warned! You may use these every day… but that doesn’t mean they’re real.

We’ve all been there. You’re enjoying a nice and normal conversation with a friend and then, BOOM. They mangle a word so horrendously you can’t help but notice, or better still they just invent a whole new one. Language may be ever evolving, but that’s still no excuse for slip-ups. In the world of Scrabble® and  Words With Friends® such mistakes will not only make you look foolish, they’ll get you ZERO points too. Thanks to our unique Word Generator there’s no real reason for you not to check the validity of a word, but here are a few common mistakes that are best avoided, to begin with.

Irregardless – A classic error. We’ve all heard this one, but alas it’s not a word. What’s most interesting with this mistake is the fact that when people say irregardless they actually mean to just say regardless. The additional ‘ir’ has become the norm for many, but that doesn’t stop it from being (more ing words) incorrect.

Conversate – Simple, this means to have a conversation, right? Wrong. Conversate actually doesn’t exist. Meant to be a mixture of conversation and converse, this ‘verb’ is utterly useless as we already have converse, why would we need a second? *We don’t*.

Misunderestimated – Once uttered by one George W. Bush during a public speech, this double negative essentially just means estimated. Best avoided.

Alot – Said with such speed you can be forgiven for thinking that alot is a very commonly used term. But here are things that start with a. Nope. We don’t have ‘alittle’ so we certainly can’t have ‘alot’. Its time must end.

Unequivocably – Adding ‘ably’ to the end of many words seems like the most natural thing to do, but in this case, you’re going to want unequivocally.

Unlightening – There’s enlightening, but why would you’d want to make something ‘un-light’ when you could just use darker or darkening?

Advark, Action, and Antidisestablishmentarianism! Using ‘A’ to improve your game

The letter ‘a’ is a trusted companion when coming up with high scoring words. After all, it’s the second most used letter in the English language. It’s a trusted glue when it comes to combining a seemingly chaotic collection of tiles, but one we can often oversimplify. Sure, words such as ‘air’, ‘arm’ and ‘admire’ might help us get out of a tough spot, but thanks to our Word Generator you can truly appreciate the wonderful world this letter can offer.

With our help, you’ll soon admire the awesome ability this most adaptable of characters has. To begin, perhaps you’d like an abbozzo, that’s a preliminary sketch in plain talk. After all, one may be required to avoid being aeolistic, or long-winded you could say. At first glance, receiving the tiles  AAGHJKYTZ may look like a total nightmare. We know, we know, ‘Z’s are never fun. But, don’t fear, transform letters to words and you’ve suddenly got ‘Ayah’, and more things that start with a. Not bad for a term for a nursemaid who looks after children…. and you didn’t even need the ‘Z’!

How about JOILAAD? Not easy unassisted, but sometimes less is more. By utilizing just four of the letters you can create ‘Jiao’, that’s 11 points in Words With Friends plus the bonus knowledge that it’s a monetary unit of China, equal to one-tenth of a yuan. To truly defeat your opponent you may have to be alopecoid, or as cunning as a fox. We often dream of getting a few ‘K’s, ‘H’s and ‘F’s to help garner some easy points, but never forget the true power of ‘A’. The ever-reliable yet surprising friend to all you autodidacts out there.