More Definitions Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

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In April of this year, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) added 21 definitions related to the COVID-19 pandemic outside of the OED's typical updating schedule. In the months since, the OED has continued to add and update definitions related to the virus and how our daily lives have shifted.

The July 2020 update focused on the medical and scientific language of COVID-19. This update included the different ways people are referring to the COVID-19 disease and virus (COVID, C-19, CV-19, corona) as well as an updated definition to COVID-19 and a second sense to coronavirus. The frequent use of some medical terms in the "new normal" has led to new sub-entries to the definitions for community spread, community transmission, face covering, hand gel, medical mask, and surgical mask. Some medical terms, like field hospital and isolate, received new senses. Other words are new additions to the dictionary, including comorbidity, contact tracer, contact tracing, frontliner, physical distancing, triaged, and triaging. The OED also recognized how work life has changed by adding Zoom to the dictionary.

The September 2020 update included more than 500 items, many of which are related to the popular COVID-19 hobbies of cooking and baking. These include kitchen paraphernalia like baking beans, baking stone, biscuit board, bread bowl, bread machine, coddler, cookie jar, cookie sheet, cooking spoon, reflector oven, and warming closet. Types of food, such as the Malaysian and Singaporean dish bak kut teh, bread-and-butter pickle, buckle cake, cherry Bakewell tart, the German sausage dish currywurst, stromboli, and the cake vinarterta were also added in the update. As were the food preparation techniques cook-chill and half-baken and cooking-themed phrases like throw the kitchen sink at, to put bread on the table, and too many cooks in the kitchen. Cookie Monster even made it into the OED as "[a] person who or thing which resembles the Cookie Monster in being voraciously hungry or insatiably greedy".

For a full list of recently added definitions, check out New Words List July 2020 and New Words List September 2020.

The Oxford English Dictionary is a membership resource available to all Jenkins members.

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