A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
“Jeggings” have made it into the dictionary.
The 12th edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is out, adding to our official lexicon words like “sexting,” “denialist” (someone who denies stuff, duh), and “woot,” evidently a commonly-used e-exclamation which I have never heard or seen written by anyone with whom I’ve ever communicated. This abridged version of the Oxford English Dictionary is geared towards covering “the language of its own time.” So as dictionary editor (what a job) Angus Stevenson points out, we get momo, noob, nurdle, in contrast to the slang included in the first edition 100 years ago:
“flapper, ‘girl not yet out [in society]’, foozle, ‘do clumsily, bungle, make a mess of’, mag, ‘halfpenny’, piffle, ‘talk or act feebly, trifle’, and potty, ‘trivial, small’.”
Stevenson also notes that in order to make room for the concept of the “mankini” (that nightmarish one-piece banana hammock thong garmet famously worn by Borat), the Concise OED gave the boot to “brabble ‘paltry noisy quarrel’ and growlery ‘place to growl in, private room, den.’”
Boy, did we foozle things up. Are we a bunch of pifflers are what? Actually, I quite like those. I might try to resurrect them. And they’re not such a far cry from nurdle, either, in the sense that there is no way not to sound like a momo (albeit a delightful one) when using them in a sentence. Don’t brabble with me on this. You know I’m right. How great do those sound? Try saying them out loud. Sure, some of our new slang is dictionary-worthy, but I think we should have spent a little more time mining our past before fixing something that wasn’t necessarily broken.
But, of course, language is ever-changing and evolving, for better or for worse. In another hundred years, they’ll be laughing at our “noob” and calling it a total bizzwix of a word. “Woot?” What noxnards we must have been at the turn of the century!
The legacy that truly concerns me, though, is “jeggings.” I am very seriously concerned that immortalizing that word will be a self-fulfilling prophecy, without which the jegging as a trend would have seen its day and gone quietly into the night to join its other misconceived brethren. Now that it has been elevated to the level of “nurdle,” I fear we may be faced with jegging-wrapped thighs for a lifetime to come. Don’t believe me? Think of the mullet!
Let’s just hope Mr. Stevenson avoids learning of the existence of Pajama Jeans before edition 13 goes to press.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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