This just in:
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2004 12:42:13 -0400
From: Bill [censored]
To: sean[at]cheesebikini.com, mike[at]satanslaundromat.com, [censored]@[censored]
“Flash mob” made the OED:
Together, we have permanently altered the English language. Will
future humans forgive us?
(Future humans? We’re still working on today’s humans!)
[I pasted the text of the article below, because the Yahoo link will expire soon.]
Thu Jul 8, 8:48 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Thanks to a French footballer’s television commercials for a popular French car, the English language officially has a new word: Va-va-voom.
“The quality of being exciting, vigorous, or sexually attractive,” say the compilers of the 11th edition of the Oxford Concise English Dictionary, which hits bookshops Thursday.
Thierry Henry speaks the word — or more precisely, asks just what does it mean — in prime-time plugs for Renault, which hired the suave Arsenal striker to give its humble Clio sedan a more masculine image.
Few anglophones outside Britain may have seen the ad, but July Pearsall from Oxford University Press said va-va-voom now was common enough to merit a place in one of the world’s most widely consulted dictionaries.
“We have evidence of it going back to the 1950s from the US as imitating the noise of an engine,” she said.
“But it is Thierry Henry’s use of the term in the TV adverts that has earned it a place in the dictionary. We have seen it used more widely as a result.”
Other new entries owe their introduction to the Iraq war, she said.
They include “blue-on-blue” (”denoting or relating to an attack made by one’s own side that accidentally harms one’s own forces) and “bioweapon” (”a harmful biological agent used as a weapon of war)”.
Other new terms include “congestion charge” (”a charge made to drive into an area, typically a city centre, that suffers heavy traffic”) and “designer baby” (”a baby whose genetic make-up has been selected in order to eradicate a particular defect, or to ensure that a particular gene is present”).
“Speed dating” (”an organised social activity in which people have a series of short conversations with potential partners in order to determine whether there is mutual interest”) also makes the Oxford dictionary pages.
So too does “flash mob” (”a public gathering of complete strangers, organised via the Internet or mobile phone, who perform a pointless act and then disperse again)”.