Totes amazeballs: sexting makes it into the dictionary

Thirteenth edition of Chambers reflects society’s increasingly casual approach to sex

The word ‘sexting’ which has been included in the latest edition of the Chambers Dictionary. The publishers say the inclusion of a new word or term heralds its acceptance into formal speech. ‘A word must demonstrate a lasting influence on a language in order to avoid short lived or faddy expressions being admitted.’

The word ‘sexting’ which has been included in the latest edition of the Chambers Dictionary. The publishers say the inclusion of a new word or term heralds its acceptance into formal speech. ‘A word must demonstrate a lasting influence on a language in order to avoid short lived or faddy expressions being admitted.’

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 16:58

George Orwell, complaining about the gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, once wrote that the “great enemy of clear language is insincerity”.

The latest Chambers Dictionary, published today, suggests the gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims is becoming ever narrower—at least as far as courtship is concerned—with definitions for ‘friends with benefits’, ‘f**k buddy’, ‘hookup’ and ‘sexting’ all making it into the 13th edition.

Also included are the words milf (a sexually attractive middle-aged woman) and cougar (a woman who chooses a male lover significantly younger than herself).

The publishers of the dictionary say the inclusion of the new terms highlight society’s increasingly casual approach to sex as well as the influence of technology on sexual contact.

Chambers, the United Kingdom’s top selling unabridged dictionary, was founded in 1832 and some of its definitions have been updated this year to reflect social changes.

It becomes the first major print dictionary to provide a gender-neutral definition of marriage, for instance.

Tech terms such as cyberbully, bitcoin, clickbait (intriguing or sensational hyperlinks that encourage readers to click through to another website) and big data also make it in.

As does the word frape, (short for ‘Facebook rape’) which is defined as “to alter the personal details on a social media site without the owner’s knowledge”.

A hipster, meanwhile, is defined variously as “a person who knows and appreciates up-to-date jazz” and “a member of the generation born in the 1980–90s who look down on their native middle-class culture, and self-consciously adopt a bohemian lifestyle and mode of dress”.

The word yolo, an abbreviation of the term ‘you only live once’, which has been defined elsewhere as “carpe diem for stupid people” and “the douchebag mating call”, has also been included in the latest edition.

The publishers say inclusion in the Chambers Dictionary heralds a word’s acceptance into formal speech.

“A word must demonstrate a lasting influence on a language in order to avoid short-lived or faddy expressions being admitted,” they say.

Which does not do much to explain why the words “totes” and “amazeballs” have also been included.