New Words 2017

Every year the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) adds hundreds of new words to its publications. Here is Pronunciation Studio’s selection from 2017, their definitions and of course we haven’t forgotten to include their pronunciation:

fatberg /ˈfætbɜːg/

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to cooking oil after you throw it down the kitchen sink, now you know, in the exact words of the OED, a ‘fatberg’ is:


pogonophobia /ˌpɒgənəˈfəʊbiə/

The word ‘pogonophobia’, means a fear of beards. It’s been around a long time, but has only recently been added to the OED, presumably owing to the sudden surge in beard-sporting hipsters and consequently the number of people who find these beards terribly frightening. So if you suffer from pogonophobia, you should probably avoid hipster hangouts like barbers, coffee shops, cereal cafes and the entirety of East London.

worstest /ˈwɜːstɪst/

‘bestest’ has been in the dictionary since 2014, and its antonym ‘worstest’ has officially been added this year. It’s a double superlative, so it’s effectively ‘worse than worst’. In other words, if you have five things that are all the worst, then the one that’s worser than all the other worst ones, that’s the worstest. Is that clear?

420 /ˌfɔːˈtwenti/

420 is a code name for cannabis and cannabis smoking. So as long as your local police officer hasn’t got himself a copy of the latest Oxford Dictionary, you can talk freely about smoking some 420, going to a 420 party, and smuggling 2 tons of 420 into the UK via Dover in a freight lorry.

yas /ˈjæs/

You may feel that we already have enough ways to say ‘yes’ in English: “yeah”, “yep”, “yup”, “uh-huh”, “ok” and “okey dokey” are all common. You could use, “righty-ho” and “yah” if you’re posh, and “aye” if you’re in the North. Well, here’s one more for your collection – replace the /e/ sound with an /æ/ sound and you get “yas”. It seems to be particularly useful in moments of excitement:

Winterval /ˈwɪntəvəl/

In the UK, the terms ‘Christmas Break’ or ‘Christmas Holidays’ are often used to refer to the period where school or work ends in December to when they begin again in the New Year. But the UK is home to large numbers of agnostics, atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and many other definitely and definitively non-Christian people who nonetheless enjoy a nice, relaxing, festive holiday. Enter ‘Winterval’, the perfect lexical solution, referring to a general winter festival. So, nothing left to say then, to end this year’s blog, other than: