Oxford English Dictionary gains splendiferous moobs

Its latest update includes words inspired by Roald Dahl's books and the Internet

LONDON • You know, some yoga- lates could tackle those splendiferous moobs.

Confused? Then turn to the Oxford English Dictionary, which has included the words among more than 1,000 revisions and updates for its latest update.

Splendiferous, meaning full of or abounding in splendour, joins yoga- lates, a fitness routine combining pilates exercises with yoga techniques, and moobs, unusually prominent breasts on a man, as new entries to the 150-year-old dictionary's collection of 600,000 words.

Other words and phrases in the latest edition include the "Westminster Bubble" of supposedly insular British politicians and civil servants, "gender-fluid", meaning a person with a fluid or unfixed gender identity, and "YOLO", an acronym for "you only live once".

  • New entries in OED

    YOLO: An acronym for "You only live once", it is used to express the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future (often as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behaviour).

    squee: An Internet slang expressing delight or excitement.

    clicktivism: The practice of signalling support for a political or social cause by means of the Internet, through social media, online petitions, etc, rather than by more substantive involvement.

    freemium: A business model, especially on the Internet, whereby basic services are provided free of charge while more advanced features must be paid for.

    fuhgeddaboudit: A US colloquialism, associated especially with New York and New Jersey, reflecting an attempted regional pronunciation of the phrase "forget about it" - used to indicate a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.


The Oxford English Dictionary is updated every three months and September's revamp marks the centenary of the birth of children's book author Roald Dahl.

It is littered with vocabulary described by another newly added word - "Dahlesque".

Besides "splendiferous", Dahl- inspired vocabulary in the new edition includes an updated entry for the word "gremlins", the meddlesome imps that sabotaged airplanes in Dahl's first children's book in 1943.

"Our newly revised entry traces the origins of this mysterious word back to 1929 and its use as RAF slang to mean 'a lowly or despised person; a menial, a dogsbody, a wretch', while our earliest evidence for use referring to the destructive sprites so feared by World War II pilots dates from 1938," Mr Jonathan Dent, the dictionary's senior assistant editor, wrote on its website.

Another addition is "human bean" - a humorous alteration or mispronunciation of human being in 1982 children's book The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant), recently adapted into a film by Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg.

Another word with a significant pre-Dahl history is "scrumptious", which can be found in his 1961 children's book James And The Giant Peach.

The word, said Oxford English Dictionary, is originally an East Anglian dialect word meaning "mean, stingy" (first recorded in 1823) and it seems to have been taken to the US by English settlers.

"The word developed in American usage to mean 'small' and also 'fastidious, scrupulous', which became 'stylish, smart', and eventually, the familiar 'excellent, marvellous; (of food) very enjoyable, delicious; (of a person) very attractive', following a semantic development similar to that of the word 'nice'," Mr Dent wrote.

"Other horrors created by Dahl including snozzcumbers, the cannibalistic Bloodbottler and the ferocious Vermicious Knid remain confined to the Dahl universe... for now," Mr Dent wrote.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2016, with the headline 'Oxford English Dictionary gains splendiferous moobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe