Srsly? Bitcoin, selfie added to Oxford dictionary

The dictionary adds some 40 new words, many tech-inspired, to its online dictionary

What do bitcoin, emoji and selfies have in common? They're all now official words, at least according to the Oxford dictionary.

More than 40 buzzy words with fashion as well as technology influences -- like, srsly -- have been added to Oxford's online site, the dictionary announced Wednesday.

Srlsy, for example, is Internet slang for seriously. Some of the newly defined words, like selfie, speak to the growth of social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

"The additions may have only just entered the dictionary, but we've been watching them for a while now, tracking how and where they are used," Oxford said in a blog post.

A selfie, now according to Oxford, is "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website."

Similarly self-absorbed people must be doing something right -- "me time" was also added as a word.

Me time, according to Oxford, is "time spent relaxing on one's own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy."

While many of the added words are playful and in some cases quite complicated, most of their definitions are still fairly straightforward. The dictionary defines bitcoin as "a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank."

An emoji, meanwhile, is "a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in an electronic communication," according to Oxford.

Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors CEO who is looking to colonize Mars through his other company SpaceX, would be happy to know that "space tourism" was added too.

Among the fashion terms making their debut in the online dictionary are flatform, geek chic and jorts. Jorts, the dictionary points out, is a good example of a portmanteau, or a word that combines two words in which part of one or both words is omitted -- in this case, "jeans" and "shorts."

LOL and OMG, two acronyms already defined by Oxford, have some new initialized friends too, in BYOD and MOOC.

Some of the added words, such as "unlike" or "buzzworthy," appear to be long overdue.

But Greg Sterling, a tech industry analyst with Opus Research, says Oxford moved too soon in adding some of the technology-inspired slang terms like selfie and "phablet."

"There should be more proven longevity in the words before they're formally incorporated," he said.

Oxford said it had been keeping an eye on the words "selfie" and "phablet" since at least last year, but that's still too fast, Sterling argued.

"Not every expression on the street or to come out of marketing or social media needs to go in the dictionary," he said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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