I’m a big fan of language evolving and changing – if it didn’t, I’d still say things like “This steak bake is commendable” rather than “This steak bake is peng”, which is what I normally shout whenever I go to Greggs.
One word that falls under this category of forever-evolving language, and has been used more and more over the past few years, is “woke”.
Not in the old fashioned sense, such as: “I’m glad you woke me up to tell me there was a sale on steak bakes at Greggs,” but in its new, 2017, cool, “woke” sense. As in: “The man who made me this Greggs steak bake also has great race and gender politics. That’s so woke.”
This meaning of woke is now very much part of everyday vernacular – everyone’s saying it – so it was only a matter of time before it was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary, or the OED, if you’re hip like that. That matter of time is now up, and it’s been popped in under the definition: “Alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice; frequently in stay woke.”
So yeah, that’s a proper word now. It’s a proper word alongside other new additions this year, such as “post-truth”, which firmly belongs in a group of compound words that I hate – almost all “post-[insert word here]” words are terrible and need to be burned, if you can burn words.
Post-truth, in case you were in the dark, comes above the definition: “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". So it could be used, for example, like this: “Look, my mate woke me up from an amazing sleep to tell me there was a sale on steak bakes and I got the bus all the way here. Now you’re telling me there isn’t one. This post-truth era does my nut in – people will believe anything, including me. This is un-woke.”
On the less annoying side of things, another very popular word has been added: “hygge”, which for the uninitiated, means: “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” Example: “I can’t wait to get home and indulge in a bit of hygge with this steak bake, it’s gonna be peng. Shame it was full price though.”
In total, over 1,200 words were added to this latest update, including a new final word. Before now, the last entry in the dictionary was “zythum”, a malt beer brewed in ancient Egypt, but the new book-end is “zyzzyva” a tropical weevil found in South America. You know, as in: “[insert unfunny joke about Greggs steak bakes and zyzzyva weevils here.]”
The next OED update isn’t until September, but that’s easily enough time for a bunch of new stupid words to catch on. God, how long before “AF” is included? Or “GOAT”? Or “steak bake”? Or “the joke has definitely run out of steam now give up”?