Copies of the Oxford English Dictionary. (Photo courtesy of

by Jade Hanley

The August update to the Oxford English Dictionary may be considered a “hot mess” to some. This update includes numerous terms that are seen as slang, so where did all of these “baller” words come from? They came about by word of mouth and the Internet, of course.

Some people say “FML” to these updates, and others are throwing an “air punch” in excitement. While these are both viable opinions, we must think about how a word actually becomes a word.

According to, a word can be considered for addition to the dictionary when “…we have evidence of a new term being used in a variety of different sources…New terms have to be recorded in a print or online source before they can be considered: it’s not enough just to hear them in conversation or on television, although we do analyze material from Internet message boards and TV scripts.”

That’s right. The “tech-savvy” guy with a “neckbeard” sitting behind his computer, making a profile to “catfish” someone, has the same ability to create a word eligible for the dictionary as any scholar does. When he does, he can go tell a “fandom” on his blog about how the experience was totally “amazeballs.”

The guy sitting on his couch, smoking an “e-cig,”­ and going on a “binge-watch” of TV shows on Netflix can laugh and “bro hug” his friends; meanwhile the girl next door can “subtweet” how her friend was such a “hot mess” and how “adorbs” she looked last night.

The influence of television, social media, and word of mouth has had such a massive influence on language that “slang” has become acceptable in daily conversation. Some think that English is a prestigious language and this is nothing but “douchbaggery,” while others think that language is constantly changing anyway, so who cares: “YOLO.”