Skip to main content

Don’t Manspread While You Bant With Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

5510506796_dff8c07b64_bIn its ongoing quest to legitimize the idiom, slang, and colloquialisms used in everyday English, the Oxford Dictionary added a new slate of words to its online dictionary this week.

Some notable examples include fatberg, a term which was coined to describe the large masses of solid waste (congealed fat and personal hygiene products) blocking London’s sewers; Grexit and Brexit, which refer to the potential departure of Greece and the UK from the eurozone and the EU, respectively; beer o’clock and wine o’clock, the appropriator time of day to start drinking.

And then there’s bants, a mangled form of banter, manspreading, and manic pixie dream girl. This last term was coined to describe a type of female film character that exists to support a male lead character:

I could take or leave most of the words added to the dictionary this week, but there’s one addition that strikes me as useful:

The honorific Mx has also been added to It’s used (in the same way as Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms etc.) before a person’s surname or full name as a gender-neutral title. Katherine Martin, Head of US Dictionaries, recently spoke with the New York Times about the rising popularity of the term, which is first found in the late 1970s and has gained significant traction since.

I tend to avoid using honorifics because of the problems introduced by the Mrs/Ms/Miss uncertainty and instead simply use last names. The Mx term would be a great solution to that conundrum – if not for the fact that it is relatively unknown.

That obscurity would lead many to assume that it is a typo when they encounter it for the first time. This adds to the confusion, and so I think the term should be avoided even though it has been around for decades.

Speaking of old words, Mx isn’t the only term added this week which was been long used in English. While some terms have been coined in the past year or decade, others like nuff said and bruh date back almost a century.

You can find more words in the Oxford Dictionaries blog post. Do you see any that surprise you?

image by greebliecrdotx

Similar Articles


carmen webster buxton September 1, 2015 um 3:07 pm

This goes to show how language changes, and how English has global variants. The Brits used to used "bant" for dieting to lose weight (I assume it was from "bantam," a small breed of chicken), although that went out in the 1950’s ,I think. Americans have very different slang from the Brits, which is confusing, especially when we use terms differently (i.e., screw, fanny, and knock you up).

All of this is why transatlantic puns are so much fun, like the one about the lady barrister who dropped her briefs and became a solicitor.

Video: How Far Back in Time Could You Go and Still Understand English? | The Digital Reader May 9, 2016 um 10:29 am

[…] tries to answer that question, but I think it falls short. The video's makers underestimate how slang and colloquialisms affect one's ability to understand a speaker, and how accents can render a known word into a […]

Write a Comment