Canadian words dépanneur, inukshuk among 500 new Oxford dictionary entries

The Oxford English Dictionary adds about 500 entries, including such attention-grabbing words as twerk, sext and vaping, but a few uniquely Canadian words also made the cut.

New Canadian words borrowed from languages other than English

A man passes by a Couche Tard convenience store, or dépanneur, in Montreal in 2012. The word dépanneur was added to the Oxford English Dictionary on Thursday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The Oxford English Dictionary added about 500 entries today, including such attention-grabbing words as twerk, sext and vaping, but a few uniquely Canadian words also made the cut. 

The new Canadian words are all borrowed from languages other than English, and linguists call them loanwords. 

From Canadian French comes dépanneur, which Quebecers will immediately know means convenience store. (The OED spelling leaves off the accent.)

The OED added inukshuk, borrowed from Inuktitut, which it defines as "a structure of rough stones stacked in the form of a human figure." 

Mangia-cake, an Italian-English compound word, was added with the definition: "a derogatory term used by some Canadians of Italian descent to refer to a non-Italian."

Two other words were given new definitions, thanks to Canada. A keener is defined, in Canada at least, as "a person, esp. a student, who is extremely or excessively eager, zealous, or enthusiastic."

While stagette was first coined in the U.S. to mean a woman attending a social function without a partner, Canadians will know the word is used here to mean a party given for a woman about to be married, more likely to be called a "bachelorette party" in the U.S. or a "hen night" in the U.K.

The OED says this update is the first to include dozens of entries that originated since the turn of the 21st century, so it includes words like photobomb, crowdfund, staycation and sext, all of which were first used after 2000. 

Social media has brought the words tweeting, retweet and twitterati to the dictionary, the latter word referring to Twitter users, especially "prolific contributors or those who have high numbers of followers." 

The update also brings a new entry for twerk: "to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance."

The new entry also traces the origin of twerk to 1820, when it was spelled twirk. The OED devoted a whole blog post to explaining how the word evolved over nearly 200 years. 

The Simpsons, the OED blog notes, has been a powerful force in bringing words to cromulence, as evidenced by another word in Thursday's update: meh. Its new entry describes it as an interjection "expressing indifference or a lack of enthusiasm."


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