New English Words Quiz: Spring 2012

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New English Words Quiz – Spring 2012

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 its ten volumes took 50 years to compile.

These days, the OED's lexicographers publish quarterly updates to the online edition. In the March 2012 update, they updated a number of key words, including 'blood', 'gas', 'school' and 'time'. Did you know that 'time' is the most frequently used noun in English? You do now.

As well as the above, many new words were added to the dictionary. Well-known ones include 'cringe-inducing', 'business-speak' and 'LARPing'. The other new words were maybe a little more obscure, but how many of them can you identify? I've listed 20 of the new words added in March 2012, and have given four possible definitions for each – 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. adelite

a) a fan of pop star Adele

b) a rare arsenic-containing mineral

c) a thing of wonder

d) a type of superglue

2. aphagia

a) acute embarrassment

b) fractal mathematics

c) the inability to swallow

d) a New Zealand shrub

3. arborio

a) an entrepreneur

b) a Mediterranean port

c) a theatre manager

d) a variety of rice

4. boofy

a) blokeish

b) cool

c) dirty

d) drunk

5. busulfan

a) a leukaemia drug

b) a transport enthusiast

c) a tsunami alert system

d) a wholewheat noodle

6. capitellid

a) a diacritical mark

b) a marine worm

c) a police chief

d) a synapse

7. Clamato

a) Chaos

b) a spicy seafood-flavoured drink

c) street theatre

d) a town crier

8. colourfield

a) a Dutch tulip plantation

b) an eye test

c) the political spectrum

d) a style of abstract art

9. datil

a) a banana-shaped fruit

b) a date-rape drug

c) an Indonesian primate

d) a raw statistic

10. femeline

a) a depilation technique

b) female

c) a pressurised canister

d) a type of petroleum jelly

11. galanthophile

a) a construction worker

b) an expert on snowdrops

c) a fan of Arthurian legends

d) a plant stem cell

12. histosol

a) a peat-like soil

b) a solar flare

c) sun blocker

d) a type of biofuel

13. ludology

a) an early Christian prayer book

b) the study of games

c) the study of the judiciary

d) technophobia

14. pussyclaat

a) a despicable person

b) a feline pet

c) a graphic printing technique

d) the treble-twenty area of a dartboard

15. scaphismus

a) a bone disease

b) an illustrated bible

c) the point in deep space at which a galaxy's gravitational attraction becomes negligible

d) a sadistic method of execution

16. soz

a) alcohol

b) a class-A drug

c) sorry

d) a West African dwelling

17. vitelligene

a) an anti-cancer drug

b) an intelligence quotient

c) an ovarian gland

d) a synthetic fabric

18. yakisoba

a) a comic book

b) a lifeboat

c) a noodle dish

d) a TV game show

19. yerba loco

a) a fish dish

b) a madness-inducing herb

c) a mountain railway

d) the night shift

20. youing

a) addressing someone with the pronoun 'you'

b) a Chinese sailing boat

c) an oil-based lubricant

d) revealing someone's real name online


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

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