Oxford Languages product updates are based on evidence collected by our expert in-house lexicographers, and include new words, new senses, new definitions, as well as revisions of existing content. These updates ensure our data reflects current usage and keeps our datasets comprehensive.
Our April 2022 update sees additions and updates to our flagship datasets, the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) and New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD), as well as to the Oxford Thesaurus of English, Sentence Dictionary, and relevant audio soundfiles.
More than 380 definitions were added to ODE and NOAD, including 225 completely new headwords, phrases, and senses. New definitions often reflect current trends and topics, such as the term content warning, denoting a notice accompanying a piece of media, warning that it contains material potentially unsuitable or offensive to some audiences.
Society’s ongoing reckoning with race and racism are also reflected in this update. Critical race theory, first evidenced in 1989, is used to denote a movement or theoretical approach which holds that racial bias is inherent or influential in social and cultural institutions and practices. In a nod to the digital age, a satoshi is the smallest monetary unit used in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and is named after its, probably pseudonymous, developer Satoshi Nakamoto. Another distinctly modern term, nomophobia, describes one’s anxiety about not having access to a mobile phone.
Words relating to the environment and climate change continue to be prominent, with the inclusion of biodigester, geoconservation, geodiversity, and precision agriculture. The Covid pandemic is reflected by the addition of terms such as LFT, surge testing, unjabbed, vaccine hesitancy, and vaxxer. New World English words focus on Australia and New Zealand, with additions including Auskick, dillbrain, honing, Kiwiness, and kehua, borrowed from Māori, meaning ghost or spirit.
Other new words include Dunning–Kruger effect, financial instrument, ghost kitchen, hypersexualized, intersectional, masala chai, nomophobia, person of interest, sportswashing, chiplet, EDMR, exposure therapy, gas exchange, nanobody, phototoxicity, plasmonic, and smart glasses.
New phrases remain as fit as a butcher’s dog, with additions including lean in, damn the torpedoes, one’s happy place, and slow one’s roll.
Highlights of new senses added include decolonize (free (an institution, sphere of activity, etc.) from the cultural or social effects of colonization), and vibe (spend time in a relaxed way).
As part of an ongoing project reviewing sensitive content, over 100 entries relating to areas of sex and gender have been revised including those for bisexual, birth sex, gay, misgender, and transgender. Words added in this area include demisexual, enby, gender presentation, gender reassignment surgery, gender-affirming, gender-critical, and pangender.
In NOAD the word black was capitalized throughout the text when used in relation to people, to reflect the prevailing usage in US English.
Both datasets underwent revision and were updated accordingly. The Oxford Thesaurus of English saw 360 entries revised or updated with new synonyms. A sensitivity review of the Sentence Dictionary focused on the spelling of black in relation to people and on mentions of Ukraine.
User feedback is an important part of our updates process, helping us to assess and implement content updates where necessary.