The Concise OED: Splatterpunk to make you boke

The new edition takes 20 percent of its entries from sources outside the U.K.


Craig Offman
June 11, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Do you find that your husband's splatterpunk habit makes him more blokeish? Those readers insufficiently literate to crack this sentence can now turn to the latest edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which came out this week in the United Kingdom and will be available in the United States later this year. Despite its name, the COED is not a condensation of the massive Oxford English Dictionary, but it is the reference volume of choice for most educated Britons, not to mention Scrabble players. Blokeish, of course, is an adjective that describes a Maxim-reading kind of man's man; splatterpunk is a literary genre full of explicit violence or porn.

The Concise, which was last updated in 1995, for the first time takes more than 20 percent of its 120,000 words -- 7,000 of them new -- from sources outside the U.K. Now you'll find such Americanisms as "studmuffin" (as in "I used to think Leo DiCaprio was a hunk, but now I realize the biggest studmuffin is Ricky Martin") and "bitching" (as in "That new Chili Peppers album sucks! Those guys used to be so bitching!")

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Salon Books has discovered more delightful slang in the new edition. For instance, an outie may be a protruding belly button to an American, but to a South African it's a homeless person. If a Scot says, "Aye, that film 'Breaking the Waves' made me want to boke," he's intimating that the jittery Lars von Trier flick nearly drove him to throw up.

Created in 1911 by Henry Fowler, the author of the classic "Modern English Usage," the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is now in its 10th edition.


Craig Offman

Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books.

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