'Fanboy' enters MW dictionary

Written by Joe Martin

July 8, 2008 | 12:52

Tags: #dictionary #fanboy #language

Companies: #merriam-webster

Meriam-Webster has just updated it's dictionary again and has added a good 100 or so words to the English language, including the word 'Fanboy'.

'Fanboy' joins words such as 'w00t' that have transcended from niche slang and jargon status, to official words recognised by authoritative bodies. Also joining the MW dictionary from the world of computer jargon is 'Malware' - defined as "software designed to interfere with a computer's normal functioning."

Fanboy itself isn't associated with computer gaming directly however, despite that being the most regular modern usage. Instead, Merriam Webster defines a fanboy as "a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee, such as of comics or movies" - a definition which opens up all sorts of questions about the gender allocation (fangirl?), age implication (fanman?) and origin of the word. Though no source is cited by Yahoo, the word is defined as first being recorded in 1919.

Merriam-Webster has added a bunch of none-tech words to the dictionary too, such as 'Soju' (a Korean rice vodka), 'Racino' (racetrack with slot machines available) and 'Dwarf planet' (celestial body that orbits the sun and has a spherical shape, but is too small to disturb other objects from its orbit.)

Our favourite addition however has to be 'Mondegreen', which was first recorded in 1954 and means "a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said or sung. From the mishearing in a Scottish ballad of "laid him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen.""

What do you think to the latest additions? Should slang such as 'w00t' and 'fanboy' be added to the dictionary, or does the process of making them official remove their slang status and mean they will inevitably decline? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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