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Oxford English Dictionary Adds 19 Singlish, 12 Hong Kong Words in Latest Update

4105285613_8c612d3df9_bLooking for some words to use as inspiration for conversations in your next novel, or as a source of names?

The Oxford English Dictionary has just released its latest update. For years now the OED has been adding slang words from British and American English, and now they’ve expanded their focus to include Asian slang.

More specifically, the OED has added words commonly used in Singapore, and Hong Kong. The new additions include wet market, a place where you find fresh meat, fish, and produce; shroff, a corruption of the word sheriff; killer litter, the trash people throw off of high balconies rather than put them in the trash chute; sandwich class, a synonym for middle class; blur , a slang term for ignorant; and sitting-out area.

Many of the 13 Hong Kong words derive from Cantonese loanwords, such as "dai pai dong", a food stall; and "yumcha", which means to drink afternoon tea and eat dimsum. Also,a majority of the Singapore terms derive from either Malay or Chinese loanwords, including ang moh, a slang term for Caucasian; shiok, a synonym for "cool" or "great"; and sotong, a type of cuttlefish or squid.

Other recent changes include revisions to Dad’s Army and other terms. That phrase was previously thought to have been coined during WWII, but the dictionary’s researchers were unable to find any references that predate the British TV show of the same name. In other words, someone probably invented the false history because it sounded good.


image by Phil Wiffen

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Fjtorres May 15, 2016 um 2:56 pm

Sounds like english might be headed ibto FIREFLY territory.

puzzled May 15, 2016 um 6:03 pm

We’ve had Yumcha for yonks in Australia.

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