May 16, 2022

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Releases March 2021 Update; More Than 1400 New Words, Senses, Phrases, and Compounds Added

From the OED Web Site and an OED Blog:

More than 1400 new words, sub-entries, and revisions have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary in our latest update, including gender pay gap, me-too, essential worker, and ally.


As usual, the programme of comprehensive revision for existing OED entries has added many new senses and sub-entries for compounds and phrases not previously covered. Revision of box reveals that a troublesome person has been told to get back into their box since at least 1920, that box of ivories is a humorous slang term for the mouth first recorded in 1821, and that—in Britain at least—something broadcast on television has been said to be on the box since the early 1960s.


Some more recent coinages reflect a cultural friction arising, in part, from the shift in public discourse beyond traditional media institutions. Cancel culture, virtue signalling, virtue signal, and virtue signaller have gained currency so quickly (all have appeared within the last five to seven years) due to wide public engagement on an array of digital platforms, online forums, and social media, where the ability to express polarized views and ideas is seen by some as a welcome democratization, and by others as a disruptive influence.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.