Following its latest update in June, the Oxford English Dictionary will now include words like ‘post-truth’ and ‘woke’.

Both words gained popularity as a result of events in the 2016 presidential elections of the United States and the issues around race and police shootings.

The original meaning of woke is to awaken after sleep but the word now has other social connotations.

“By the mid-20th century, woke had been extended figuratively to refer to being ‘aware’ or ‘well informed’ in a political or cultural sense,” the Oxford English dictionary said.

“In the past decade, that meaning has been catapulted into mainstream use with a particular nuance of ‘alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice’ through its association with the Black Lives Matter movement, especially on social media.”

Post-truth is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

The dictionary also gave a new definition to ‘thing’: “The noun thing has been part of the English lexicon for more than a thousand years, but the OED now defines a new meaning which has only arisen in the past two decades.

“The new sense is defined as ‘a genuine or established phenomenon or practice’, and is often used in questions conveying surprise or incredulity, such as ‘is that even a thing?’.”

Before now, the last alphabetic entry in the dictionary was zythum, a type of malt beer brewed in ancient Egypt – but the dictionary now ends with Zyzzyva, a tropical weevil native to South American which is usually found on or near palm trees.

Other words included in the new update, which adds over 1200 words, phrases, and senses from the newly revised alphabetic ranges includes quark, graviton, lepton, boson, gluon, gluino, and leptoquark.

The dictionary publishes four updates a year; the next update will be in September 2017.



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