New English Words Quiz: Winter 2010

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New English Word Quiz - Winter 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. Its ten volumes took 50 years to compile.

Today, the OED's lexicographers publish quarterly updates to the online edition. On 1st December, 2010, they reviewed and updated, among other sequences, all the entries for words lying alphabetically between 'dictate' and 'dictum'. This conveniently included the word 'dictionary', and one of the new words they have added this time is 'dictionary attack'. This isn't, as you might think, an assault on the OED's offices; it's a type of cyber attack which uses a dictionary to generate passwords. They also added a small batch of new words from across the alphabet. These included a few well-known terms, like 'bioenergy', 'worldly wisdom', and even 'dog shit'. 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 December 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. actogram

a) a record of someone's sleep patterns

b) a singing telegram delivered by a celebrity actor

c) a type of word puzzle

d) a very large unit of mass, equal to 10 to the power of 45 kilograms

2. adda

a) a Burmese motorcycle-rickshaw

b) an illicit drinking establishment in West Bengal

c) a South African antelope

d) a universal power supply

3. analemmatic

a) describing a particular design of sundial

b) a haemorrhoid cream

c) illogical

d) state-of-the-art

4. Bakrid

a) an Islamic festival

b) a Norse god

c) the Promised Land

d) a surgical procedure

5. cameriere

a) a convertible automobile

b) an Italian waiter

c) a small apartment

d) a webcam

6. chambress

a) barefaced cheek

b) to emboss

c) the nun in charge of bedlinen at a convent

d) a variety of highland cattle

7. crickety

a) amazing

b) jerry-built

c) relating to the game of cricket

d) untrustworthy

8. crinum

a) base of the skull

b) a legal argument

c) an ornamental lily

d) a Roman book-binding

9. dama

a) a large gazelle

d) a Nepalese hat

b) spiritual enlightenment

c) textured paint

10. digitus

a) arthritis of the hand

b) the computer age

c) a plant toxin

d) a whole number less than ten

11. Dogo

a) an Amazonian tribe

b) an Argentinian hunting dog

c) a Greek board game

d) a Venetian palace

12. Dogon

a) an expression of annoyance

b) a genre of Japanese theatre

c) a sub-atomic particle

d) a West African tribe

13. frogger

a) a bolster chisel

b) a hacker

c) one who catches frogs

d) a move in freestyle skiing

14. Frogpondian

a) an adherent of transcendentalism

b) concerning US-French diplomatic relations

c) relating to a cosmological theory

d) unimportant

15. galactico

a) an astrophysicist

b) ornamental plasterwork

c) a super-fast railway

d) a superstar footballer

16. Idared

a) falsely accused

b) a Jewish settlement

c) a Polynesian goddess

d) a variety of apple

17. iddat

a) an information security database

b) a Malaysian tropical fruit

c) the period during which a divorced or widowed woman may not remarry

d) a temporary building

18. idget

a) an African tribal gathering

b) a horse-drawn hoe

c) a mini-app

d) a water beetle

19. TATA box

a) an efficiency improvement technique

b) an element of DNA

c) a psychometric test

d) a suggestions box

20. worlding

a) creating life

b) the search for extraterrestrial intelligence

c) steel framing

d) a worldly-minded person


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

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