Ten ‘academic’ words that have just made it into the dictionary

New edition of Collins English Dictionary contains raft of new terms

October 23, 2014

Are you “adorkable” (socially inept or unfashionable in a charming or endearing way)? Does your busy university life mean you often have your lunch “al desko” (eating at one’s desk at one’s place of work)?

These are two of the words appearing in the Collins English Dictionary for the first time this year, and there are plenty of new terms from the world of academia making their bow too.

Among the new higher education terms are “webliography” (a list of items published on the internet indicating research sources), “hazing” (bullying – often used in reference to US fraternity and sorority admissions tests) and “postdoc” (which the dictionary defines as being short for postdoctorate or postdoctoral).

There is also room for “admissions” (the procedure for admitting students), college-bound” (intending to go to college) and “off-campus” (outside of the area of land that contains the main buildings of a university).

Many of the new university-related words have their origin in the US. An “underclassman”, for example, refers to an undergraduate in the first two years of college or university education, while an “upperclassman” is a junior or senior student in an American high school or university. Both would no doubt be keen to get hold of a “cheat sheet”, or crib sheet, to assist with their studies.

“Bioarchaeology”, the branch of archaeology that deals with the remains of living things, also appears for the first time.

To celebrate the launch of its 12th edition, we have a copy of the new Collins English Dictionary (worth £45) to give away to one of our Twitter followers.

Just tweet us @timeshighered with an example of a made-up word from the world of higher education that you think should be included in the dictionary. Tweet using the hashtag #HEwords.

The new edition includes 50,000 newly added words and a total of 722,000 words, meanings and phrases, making it the largest single-volume English dictionary in print.


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