back to article English language falls to the Slashdot effect

A list of notable new additions to our beloved mother tongue reveals that the interwebs continued to enhance the lexicon during 2009, with hashtag, tweetup and the Slashdot effect featuring large on the manifest of neologisms. Out in the real world, English enjoyed the particularly French pastime of "bossnapping" (preventing …


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  1. Hollerith 1


    I for one mourn the degradation of this useful and specific word to a simpler usage, i.e. 'blocked' or 'censored'. But 'redacted' sounds important and technical, while 'blocked' isn't col. "Redacted" in its true sense is great and we shouldn't lose it. Sadly, I am already waving bye-bye.

  2. Cazzo Enorme


    "Credit crunch" is a phrase not a word.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Zombie Bank

    Isn't that just a Bank?

  4. Cameron Colley

    Just added a 600 year old word?

    Unless I'm a time traveller or something I seem to recall "redact" meaning the same thing about ten or so years ago (I'm embarrassed it was so recently) when I first came across the term.

    It seems that some dictionaries have been aware of it for a while.

    From Merriem-Webster online:

    Main Entry: re·dact

    Pronunciation: \ri-ˈdakt\

    Function: transitive verb

    Etymology: Middle English, from Latin redactus, past participle of redigere

    Date: 15th century

    1 : to put in writing : frame

    2 : to select or adapt (as by obscuring or removing sensitive information) for publication or release; broadly : edit

    3 : to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release

  5. Yorkshirepudding

    bluesky thinking

    christ i hate business spk, i threatened to hit a bloke in our office if he used the word guesstimate again

    the threat worked on the office fucktard

  6. Red Bren
    Big Brother


    "Redact - Censor or obscure part of a text for legal, security or ▇▇▇ purposes."

    What's with the blanked out text? I thought standard procedure was to use the same background and foreground colour so we can still highlight the secret info?

  7. Jerome 0


    Redact is a new word? I suppose its use to specifically mean the removal of sensitive information might be new. As far as I was aware, it simply meant the preparation of a document for publication.

    "Snollygoster" is lovely, but it doesn't even begin to make up for "freemium" or "jeggings".

  8. Anonymous Coward


    It's been around for quite a while, meaning to edit...

    Hardly a new word, or usage for that matter.

  9. Mr Pedantio


    If "unfriend" is a word, excuse me while I de-friend the compilers of the Oxford American Dictionary.

    1. Steve X

      D$%^&ed yanks

      'friend' is a noun, but when they needed a verb to go with it our illiterate transatlantic descendants ignored the perfectly good existing verb "befriend" and just lazily turned friend into a verb.

      Now they've visted a worse horror on us.

      Maybe we could define the new verb "to american" meaning "to change in a pointless and ill-educated way", as in "I've just americaned my twitterblogspacetube again"?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      That's why I always use ...

      ... the Oxford UnAmerican Dictionary. (It's a little red book.)

    3. Renato
      Big Brother


      A: "The unfriends of the Big Brother should be unliving by now, sir."

      B: "Doubleplusgood, soldier!"

      Coat, with 1984's appendix inside pocket.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      The suppleness of English is its strength

      English is operational and words are defined through use. So, yes, unfriend is a word.

      And it's not the Americans' fault. English has been plastic since ... oooh ... Shakespeare at least. Hint hint.

      Y'all must be Tory voters or something.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Minute Mentoring

    well colour me a silly shade of lilac, I have been using the term the wrong way all year - I thought it was a self help group of midgets, well that explains a lot.

  11. Colin Guthrie


    So "unfriend" is meant as a verb here - i.e. the *action* of removing someone from your friends list... I worry that it will be come an noun: unfriend; an enemy. Once that falls into general usage, there will be no need for the word enemy any more... If you really dislike someone, then could become a plusunfriend..... and we can reserve a special phrase for global villains like Osama, Sadam or Blair: doubleplusunfriend.

    I for one welcome our new doubleplusfriends.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      IT Angle


      Shouldn't that be unfriend-plus-plus? Would this be sort of the same as friend-minus-minus?

  12. Martin Budden 1

    Many of these terms are hardly new

    Epigenetics, geoengineering, redact and tag cloud have been around for a while.

  13. kissingthecarpet

    Anyone who says

    "simples" or any other corporate advert-inspired shite needs a 6" nail banged into their head each time they utter the repulsive construction. Also how many fucking meercats are there in Central Europe?

    Adverts for comparison sites in general have taken over from loan ads as the most annoying stuff on TV

    1. Citizen Kaned

      oh come on....

      the meerkat is a damn site better than 'we buy anycar' & repeat. that makes me want to put my head in a vice! at least the meerkat is slightly amusing and changes regularly!

  14. BlueGreen

    redact this

    New word my arse. Perhaps 'proofreader' isn't in the dictionary either.


  15. Anonymous Coward

    "Redact" ? WTF?

    Why is this in the list?

    "Redact" has been common usage for blacking out sections of secret documents since like forever. A google news search(*) shows it in steady and constant usage as far back as 1930s with a steady rising trend starting around 1980 and a bit of a hump in the past few years; that's hardly any kind of new terminology.

    Just look at the list; there are nine entirely recent neologisms that refer to concepts that didn't even exist until recently, and then there's the rather staid and old-fashioned "redact". It stands out a mile, like the odd-one-out in a particularly simplistic spot-the-odd-one-out puzzle.

    This really looks like it demonstrates that the OED's commercialism is forcing on it a PR-hungry attitude that is undermining the quality of its scholarship. A poor trade-off.

    (*) -

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    What a beautiful word. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson would've been proud.

  17. Colin Millar


    One of the few examples where a long-standing word has been consistently used in its correct context - prepare for publication. Excising words has always been recognised as part of that process and redact has been used to express that since at least Watergate.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid dics

    Since when did 2 words become one word?

    Oxford really is taking the piss.

    If you really want to be proper, it's best to consult two dictionaries, and work based on "only if it exists in both". Oxford + Cambridge etc.

    Soon, the better dictionary might be Webster.... nooooooooooooo

    Stupid editors, they just want publicity really, or to act cool, or something.

    What happened to words based on actual old world meanings, ie latin..

    Geo-Engineering - makes sense at least even if you were never told what it meant...

  19. Z80

    A descriptive heading or caption

    I wish people would stop verbing nouns.


  20. M man


    Susie Dent, who led a trawl of two billion words to compile the pick of the crop.

    She said: "It has been another rich year. Last year, we found that 'credit crunch' was the most familiar new word"

    No that TWO words. both are very old as far as im aware

  21. unitron

    Just now noticing "Slashdot Effect"?

    The phrase "Slashdot Effect " has been around at least 11 years, since before the Halloween Papers even.

    Mine's the one with the 4 digit id in the pocket.

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Truth is... English we've probably forgotten more old words than we ever create...

    Fensternationale !!

  23. not'known@this.address
    Big Brother


    There are quite a few meerkats in central Europe, unfortunately most of them in zoos. And whilst I agree with you on the prevalence of comparison site ads, I personally feel that the Meerkat ads are better than the majority of "proper" programs on the idiot box at the moment.

    Given my druthers, I'd choose 30 seconds of cgi'd overgrown rodent over the drek they call "reality TV" every time...

    But what I find most worrying is that said cgi'd furball seems to have a significantly higher IQ than most of the humans you see onscreen...

    1. J 3

      Pedant, me?

      Meerkats are not rodents.

  24. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  25. J 3


    Why the hell is a Portuguese word being used over there? Weird... Now I know why I've seen some commentards using it here this year. Should have guessed it was TV's fault.

    Anyway, adding to the choir, epigenome is hardly new for 2009, at least in the relevant technical circles. Maybe I've been spending too much time in said circles... Or have cutesy TV ads in Blighty started using epigenome too? That would be a sight to behold, methinks.

  26. fearnothing

    Insert Psychosis Here

    I found the concept of the Zombie Bank quite entertaining. John Dee's comment about the flexibility of the English language is technically correct, although I think that most people's difficulty with the production of new words from our (sort of) friends across the Atlantic is less to do with their newness and more resentment that it wasn't us that made them. We Brits often consider the language our personal posession and are offended by changes imposed from the "outside". Xenophobia, inferiority complex or <insert psychosis here>? You choose.

  27. pctechxp


    All our baks become Zombie banks does that mean we'll become a Zombie Nation?

    (cue the banging trance track from 2000)

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "guesstimate" is a wonderful portmanteau, hinting that an estimate may often be little more than a guess (which many times it is).

    Your threat of violence and poor use of language reflects badly upon you. I'm surprised you've advertised either.

  29. Cortland Richmond

    Rsverse Redacted

    If I put text back... is it greenacted?

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