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Oxford Dictionary Boasts a New Final Word

'Zyzzyva' has been added, as have 'post-truth,' 'unclick,' and a word describing sperm
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2017 12:47 PM CDT
Oxford Dictionary Distinguishes Sperm With New Additions
The Oxford English Dictionary is seen in New York.   (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

(Newser) – And you thought "covfefe" was hard to pronounce. The Oxford English Dictionary has added more than 1,200 new "words, phrases, and senses" to its tome, per a blog post, and among them is an entry that nabs the spot as the last word in the book. "Zyzzyva" (zih-zih-vah), the name given to a particular type of weevil beetle hailing from South America, has bumped "zythum," which refers to an ancient Egyptian malt beer. Coined by entomologist Thomas Lincoln Casey in 1922, "zyzzyva" already appears as the last word in several other dictionaries, but it's getting plenty of attention now since the OED is "the standard-bearer of dictionaries," per the Washington Post.

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According to the OED blog, "zyzzyva" might have been meant as "an onomatopoeic reference to the noise made by the weevil," and it might have been "chosen deliberately as an alphabetical curiosity." Other changes to the dictionary: Oxford's 2016 word of the year, "post-truth," has been added, along with "unclick"; "swimmer" (as it refers to sperm); the insulting phrase "son of a bachelor" which dates to 1657; and various terms for subatomic particles, per Time. The definition for "thing" has also been updated to refer to its use "in questions conveying surprise or incredulity, such as 'is that even a thing?,'" while the adjective "woke" now reflects its meaning as "alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice." (Read more Oxford English Dictionary stories.)

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