Film-related words make Oxford English Dictionary’s final cut

The OED’s latest update featrues cinema terms and results of youth slang campaign

Tarantinoesque: Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino

Tarantinoesque: Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino

 

What unites Nollywood with the horror of Hammer? What brings together the horror thrillers of giallo with a sword-and-sandal epic set in the ancient world? What do Altmanesque, Kubrickian, and Tarantinoesque have in common? The answer is they are words or terms that have recently made their way into the OED.

The OED recruited film critic and broadcaster Mark Kermode as a consultant for this update. Craig Leyland, senior editor in the new words team at the OED, said: “The phrase ‘the language of cinema’ typically refers to visual literacy; how cuts, close-ups, and camera movement are used as a form of communication. But film has its own vocabulary too, an ever-expanding lexicon, added to whenever new technology, techniques, pictures or people make an impact on the English language.

“With this in mind we examined online databases and specialist film resources to identify over 100 new words, phrases, and senses from the world of cinema for inclusion in the OED. From unique directors (eg Lynchian, Capraesque) through international scares (giallo, kaiju) to magical movie tricks (Foley, glass shot), like the best Spielbergian fare, there’s something to please everyone. (Yes, we added Spielbergian.)”

Some other film words and terms:

XXX, adj: designating a film of an extremely sexually explicit nature; hard-core; pornographic.

Chanchada: a type of popular Brazilian musical film that is typically characterized by slapstick or burlesque humour and vibrant song and dance sequences.

Mumblecore: a style of low-budget film typically characterized by naturalistic and (apparently) improvised performances and a reliance on dialogue rather than plot or action.

Scream queen: an actress noted for her roles in horror films.

Up to eleven: so as to reach or surpass the maximum level or limit.

Walla: used by actors to represent the indistinct murmuring noise of a crowd.

Not in Kansas anymore: in an unfamiliar place or situation; undergoing a new experience.

Shaky cam: cinematographic technique in which the camera is (or appears to be) hand-held, typically in order to lend a dynamic, naturalistic feel to a shot.

Another new development in the OED is an updating of youth slang. Young people’s language is particularly difficult for dictionary editors to track because terms that are in vogue change rapidly and modes of communication (texting, Snapchat, etc) make it difficult to monitor. Which iss why it recently launched a youth slang word appeal. One example of a word commonly used by young people which has found its way into our most recent OED update is butters – used in British slang to describe either someone who is unattractive or something that is unappealing or disgusting.

“Hey, fam” – Did you know that the word fam was introduced as a graphic abbreviation for family way back in the 16th century? Yet it wasn’t until about 1990 that it became a common colloquial abbreviation. While the original meaning of family just included one’s relatives, it was soon extended to close friends or fellow members of a particular group and it became a common form of direct address either to a single person or many. This last usage is attested earliest in the context of American hip-hop, but is now also prominent in British slang use, and as a way of addressing one’s audience on social media.

Fam was chosen as a distinctive local turn of phrase by Caleb Femi, former Young People’s Laureate for London, as part of the 2017 National Poetry Day celebrations, and it forms the basis for his wonderful poem of the same name. The OED collaborated with the BBC and the Forward Arts Foundation on the project; it investigated, tracing the history and development of fam, and one year on has added it to the dictionary.

Preppers

Are you a prepper? The word is added with a generic meaning “a person who or thing which prepares or readies something” as well as a more recent and specific one, “a person who anticipates a catastrophic disaster or emergency occurring on a local or global scale and actively prepares for it, typically by learning survival skills, preparing to become self-sufficient, and stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.” The earliest use of the latter sense is from a 1998 post on a Usenet newsgroup called alt.y2k.end-of-the-world and addresses “fellow y2k preppers” – a group or people who believed that the so-called Y2K computer bug would cause global catastrophe.

The word’s addition to the OED as the prospect of a hard Brexit looms is doubtless purely coincidental.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.