New English Words Quiz: Autumn 2010

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New English Word Quiz - Autumn 2010

The Oxford English Dictionary is the unrivalled reference to the meaning, history and pronunciation of the English language. It defines over half a million words, and lists 2.5 million quotations to illustrate their meanings.

The history of the dictionary is fascinating enough in itself. When the Oxford University Press took on the task of compiling it in 1879, they thought the project would take ten years to complete. Five years on, they realised they had misjudged it slightly when they discovered they had only got as far as the word 'ant'. Despite a major replanning exercise, the task of compiling the ten volumes took just under 50 years to complete.

One thing they hadn't realised at the outset was how quickly the language changes. Keeping the dictionary up to date is a major task. Today, the OED's lexicographers publish quarterly updates to the online edition. On 16th September, 2010, they reviewed and updated all the entries for words lying alphabetically between 'rod' and 'rotness'. They also added a small batch of new words from across the alphabet. These included a few well-known terms, like 'text box', 'free running', and even 'iPod'. The other new words they added were maybe a little more obscure, but how many of them can you identify?

I've listed 20 of the new words added in September 2010, and have given four possible definitions for each one - can you spot the correct one?

You'll find the answers at the foot of the page, but no peeking until you've guessed them all!

1. ampelographer

a) a blogger

b) a body-scanner operator

c) someone who studies vines

d) a writer of graphic novels

2. Apus

a) an Amazonian god

b) a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere

c) a genus of jungle rat

d) Hell

3. arenosol

a) an area of forest clearance in Central America

b) a haemorrhoid cream

c) a paradox

d) a soil found in desert regions

4. boonies

a) an amphetamine tablet

b) jungle country

c) trick or treat

d) a Zimbabwean farmstead

5. borek

a) a geometrical solid figure

b) a Mediterranean savoury pie dish

c) a Palestinian village elder

d) a sub-atomic particle

6. borlotti

a) a cable clip

b) an Italian red wine

c) a pedalo

d) a type of kidney bean

7. fening

a) a Bosnian coin

b) a footballer's dive

c) a sausage

d) a plumber

8. futsal

a) beach footwear

b) five-a-side football

c) a luggage trolley

d) a Turkish root vegetable

9. goji

a) a bicycle rickshaw

b) an edible berry

c) insane

d) a Nepalese fur-lined jacket

10. hikikomori

a) a raw fish dish

b) the slaughter of whales for scientific research

c) a social recluse

d) a theatre genre

11. kawaii

a) adorably cute

b) a Hawaiian tribal chief

c) a judo referee

d) a refugee

12. keirin

a) an African green vegetable

b) a bicycle race

c) an enzyme controlling brain activity

d) a Turkish yoghurt

13. keitai

a) drunk

b) a mobile phone

c) an old man

d) a ribbon

14. machinima

a) antique technology

b) a baddie

c) films produced from video games

d) a ground beetle

15. ogonek

a) a dam

b) an edible mushroom

c) a Polish diacritical mark

d) a student activist

16. parkour

a) free running

b) a spicy soup

c) a type of portable event staging

d) valet parking

17. sheeple

a) a cross between wild and domesticated sheep breeds

b) people who act like sheep

c) a plastic CD case

d) a viral cattle disease

18. trastuzumab

a) an anti-cancer drug

b) a Kurdish magistrate

c) reclaimed land

d) a water-hole

19. wuxia

a) a Chinese warrior

b) embarrassment

c) hypnosis

d) a type of tree resin

20. Yngling

a) a cub scout

b) a deep sea fish

c) a firecracker

d) a type of sailing boat


1c 2b 3d 4b 5b 6d 7a 8b 9b 10c 11a 12b 13b 14c 15c 16a 17b 18a 19a 20d

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