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The Oxford English Dictionary needs teens to explain slang


Teens that Snapchat! Instagram Baddie Teens! The Oxford English Dictionary needs you. The organisation has launched an appeal to teenagers, asking for their help with “particularly elusive” teenage slang. 

The OED said that language commonly used by young people has been “always challenging” to track and define, as they aim to “record all distinctive words that shape the language, old and new, formal and informal”. They’ve put it down to fast paced communication methods, as the Guardian reports, aided by Whatsapp and Snapchat.

Young people can help by sending in examples of current slang words they now via the OED website or on Twitter with the hashtag #youthslangappeal

“Lexicographers are used to observing and recording language change. Yet, there’s something particularly innovative and elusive about the way that young people adapt existing vocabulary to make new words, and in doing so create what seems like a secret lexicon to those not in the know,” said OED senior editor Fiona McPherson. “Given that most of us at the OED left our teenage years behind some time ago, who better to help us identify creative new words and meanings than those who created and used them in the first place?”

So far, the OED is looking into “dank” (defined as “cool or great”) and “hench” (meaning “fit and muscular”).

As part of the appeal, UK state schools are being offered free access to the online OED for this academic year.