New English Words Quiz: Summer 2010

0 Conversations

some dictionaries

New English Word Quiz - Summer 2010

Thank you for all the comments you posted on the previous quiz (Winter 2010). While we wait for the next dictionary update in March, I thought I'd post a retrospective quiz containing words from years gone past. Actually, it's not even one year past: these words were all added in June 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.

These days, the OED's lexicographers publish quarterly updates to the online edition. On 1st June, 2010, they reviewed and updated, among other sequences, all the words lying alphabetically between 'Rh' and 'rococoesque'. In so doing, they spruced up entries like 'ride', 'ring' and 'rise', as well as 'rhinoceros', 'rock and roll' and 'rocket'. Among the more common new words they added in this sequence were 'rhinosinusitis' and 'ring tone'.

They also added a small batch of new words from across the alphabet, one of the the best known of which was 'scissors paper stone'. Now, I actually prefer to play this game as the variant 'cow bomb lake' (cow drinks lake, lake envelops bomb, bomb blows up cow). The actions are self-explanatory: two fingers pointing from the forehead make horns for the cow (or you can just bellow a loud 'moo'); Make yourself very fat and puff up your cheeks for the bomb; and spread your arms wide for the lake - undulating a flat palm like a cricket umpire signalling four runs is an alternative action. I hope to see this popular variation enshrined in the dictionary some time soon.

The other new words added to the OED in this update were maybe a little more obscure, but how many of them can you identify? I've listed 20 of the new words added in June 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. halirift

a) a card game

b) good humour

c) a nun's veil

d) a sailing boat

2. jatropha

a) a Caucasian dwelling

b) insanity

c) a spinal injury

d) a tropical shrub

3. leucon

a) a cooking utensil

b) a musical instrument

c) a type of sponge

d) a UV-protective coating

4. rasta roko

a) a Malaysian curry

b) a medicine bag

c) a nuclear test site

d) a street protest

5. rhandir

a) an Asian unit of currency

b) the caribou

c) a lentil

d) a measure of land

6. rhedarium

a) an ant colony

b) a carriage workshop

c) a type of cell wall

d) a vine garden

7. rhingyll

a) a bailiff

b) a sea-bird

c) a stitched hem

d) a vegetable dye

8. rhoptry

a) an agricultural tool

b) a civil servant

c) an organelle

d) a three-dimensional figure

9. rhythmica

a) a gecko

b) a nightclub

c) the science of rhythm

d) a type of marble

10. riad

a) an astronomically large number

b) a construction worker

c) a Moroccan garden

d) a variety of poppy

11. ribaldo

a) a deep-sea cod

b) fringe theatre

c) a fungal skin disease

d) a gentleman

12. ridibund

a) happy

b) a North American tree

c) obsolete

d) opposed to change

13. rifferama

a) a bird of paradise

b) a concave surface

c) gratuitous musical improvisation

d) a seascape

14. rigolet

a) an architectural moulding

b) an eyespot on a butterfly's wing

c) a printer's tool

d) a stream

15. rikishi

a) a braided jacket

b) a chef

c) a stadium

d) a sumo wrestler

16. rincon

a) an anti-cancer drug

b) the honey buzzard

c) a mineral ore

d) a secluded piece of land

17. ripstaver

a) a beetle

an impressive person

c) a move in surfing

d) a stanchion on a biplane

18. robalo

a) a beach bar

b) a circus performer

c) a detective

d) an edible fish

19. robug

a) a geometric puzzle

b) a quad bike

c) a small robot

d) a system error

20. stonerock

a) a crag

b) a drug addict

c) a freshwater plant

d) a genre of blues music


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

Icy's Quizzes and More Archive

Icy North

17.01.11 Front Page

Back Issue Page

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written by



h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more