Charley horse

Charley horse 意為「肌肉痙攣」(muscle cramp),也就是一般所稱的「(腳或腿) 抽筋」。它的字面意思與實際意思相差一萬八千里,跌破許多人的眼鏡。Charley horse 是北美用語,在英式英語中非常罕見。根據《牛津英語大辭典》(The Oxford English Dictionary, OED),charley horse 中的 charley 不大寫,而其複數型為 charley horses;不過,有些字典說,charley horse 通常用單數。

這個用語於 1880 年代首次出現,源於美國的棒球運動。傳說之一是,這個名詞最初是用來指一匹叫做 Charley 的瘸馬,牠在芝加哥白襪隊球場拉著滾輪 (與現今的壓路機雷同) 來進行球場的填方壓實作業。第二種傳說認為這是指 1880 年代一位名叫 Charley Radbourne 的投手,他在比賽時發生抽筋。但這兩種說法都無法獲得證明。一般通常使用拉筋、按摩或熱敷等方法來紓解抽筋的症狀。

例句:

  • Simon usually has a bad charley horse during sleep. (賽蒙睡覺時經常嚴重抽筋)
  • Charley horses in the legs are quite common during pregnancy. (懷孕期間腿部抽筋相當常見)
  • The swimmer was seized with a charley horse and had to be helped out of the water. (那個在游泳的人突然抽筋,須由別人協助上岸)

Unputdownable

Unputdownable 是個形容詞,主要用來指「(書很有趣或很刺激) 令人愛不釋手的;令人不忍釋卷的」。這個字半新不舊,若干字典已經收錄,但其他字典則沒有。《韋氏詞典》(Merriam-Webster) 指出,這個字已知的第一次使用是在 1947 年,而《牛津英語大辭典》(The Oxford English Dictionary, OED) 最早的例句也是來自這一年。然而,在 Google 圖書 (Google Books) 進行搜尋,卻可找到更早的例句,包括來自 1842 年版的 London Medical Gazette 的一個例句。

例句:

  • His new novel has become a bestseller because it is truly unputdownable. (他的新小說已成為暢銷書,因為它真的令人愛不釋手)
  • The book’s a good read. It’s unputdownable. Do you want a read? (這本書很好看,讓人不忍釋卷。你要看嗎?)

牛津英語大辭典 收錄近 900 個新字新詞

《牛津英語大辭典》(Oxford English Dictionary, OED) 每年會進行 4 次的新字新詞收錄。根據英國《每日郵報》報導,OED 13 日公布最新收錄的詞彙,總計有近 900 個之多。茲舉其中幾個字說明如下:

bathroom break (名詞):活動期間短暫的如廁時間。
beatboxer (名詞):表演節奏口技 (beatbox) 的人。
bestie (名詞):摯友或閨密。
bookaholic (名詞):習慣閱讀或瘋狂買書的人。
DIYer (名詞):自己動手做 (DIY) 的人。
do-over (名詞):(第一次失敗或做得不滿意後) 再次或更多次的重做或嘗試。
scissor-kick (動詞):剪刀腿飛踢。

Twitter 太火紅 牛津英語大辭典破例納入 tweet

根據外電報導,英國《牛津英語大辭典》(Oxford English Dictionary, OED) 日前公布新版本,新增逾 1200 個詞條和新解釋。最值得一提的是,由於當紅炸子雞 Twitter (推特 - 社群網站名稱) 實在太紅了,OED 破例將出現未滿 10 年的 tweet 這個可當動詞和名詞用的新解釋「在推特上推文;推文者」也納入。

《牛津英語大辭典》最新一季更新的辭彙中,follow、follower兩字不僅限於原有的意思,還涵蓋過去 6 年快速成長的社群媒體術語。

OED 總編輯辛普森說:「這至少打破 OED 一項原則,亦即一個字至少要存在 10 年,我們才會考慮收進辭典。但它實在太火紅了。」辛普森說,tweet 從 2006 年出現到 2012 年止,相關例句已成長逾 50 倍。

OED 部分新增字:

  • crowdsourcing (群體外包):徵求一大群人提供想法以獲資訊,或徵求一大群人來做某事或提供服務,一般是透過網路。
  • dad dancing (老爹舞;老爹舞技):中老年人在婚禮中,隨著流行音樂表演過時的舞技。
  • geekery (技客,怪咖;技客行為,怪咖行為):原意為奇特的馬戲團表演,現指對某種主題或事物 (尤其是電腦、科技) 特別專精者,或癡迷、狂熱追求某種事物的行為。
  • flashmob (快閃族):指一大群人透過網路、手機等方式相互召集在公共場所,一同做出預先安排的動作,做完後立即解散。

「呼呼塞拉」 吹進牛津英語辭典

據英國《每日電訊報》(Daily Telegraph) 8月18日報導,南非足球迷愛用的塑膠喇叭「呼呼塞拉」(vuvuzela) 在今年世界盃足球賽一鳴驚人,也把 vuvuzela 這個字吹進最新修訂出版的《牛津英語辭典》(Oxford Dictionary of English) 裡,成為牛津英語辭典最新收錄的新字新詞之一。

《牛津英語辭典》與歷史悠久的《牛津英語大辭典》(Oxford English Dictionary, OED) 略有不同,以常用字為主,而網路衍生的新字詞最多,如 microblogging (微網誌)、tweetup (經推特 twitter 安排的聚會)、defriend (從 facebook 等社群網站將某人從自己的好友名單中移除),源自日文的 hikikomori (繭居族) 也上榜。

金融海嘯也帶來 toxic debt (有毒債務,指可能無法償還的債務)、quantitative easing (量化寬鬆,指的是中央銀行增加全國貨幣供應量)、staycation (在國內度假) 等新字。科學方面的新字新詞多與氣候有關,如 carbon storage (碳封存),指在燃燒燃料過程,留住二氧化碳並封存在某處。國家和全球政治領域出現的新字詞包括 exit strategy (退出戰略)、the fog of war (戰爭迷霧)、a surge (增兵)、overthinking (多慮)、catatrophizing (比實際情況更糟糕的局面) 以及 soft skills (軟技能,指與別人和諧相處的能力)。

新修訂出版的牛津英語辭典,會依據每個字詞使用的頻繁程度,決定是否將它們納入。7月份針對全球語言學者所做的調查顯示,vuvuzela 是本屆世足賽最重要的字。編纂單位請 60 多國的 320 多位語言學者,選出他們認為對本屆世足賽影響最大的字,結果有 75% 選擇 vuvuzela。

以下為《每日電訊報》的原文報導:

Vuvuzela enters Oxford Dictionary of English

The vuvuzela has blasted its way into the Oxford Dictionary of English for the first time after becoming the sound of the World Cup.

Along with other new words like tweetup, cheeseball and turducken, it is included in the third edition of the dictionary, published on Aug. 18.

The word vuvuzela has only been in common use since the summer when the long horn began to be heard at the World Cup matches in South Africa.

It is one of more than 2,000 new words and phrases included in the dictionary for the first time.

Other newcomers include: tweetup (a meeting arranged through Twitter); cheeseball (lacking taste or style); and a turducken (a roast dish consisting of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey).

Two of the greatest influences on current language have been the internet and the financial crisis.

Paywall (which restricts website access only to subscribers), microblogging (posting short entries on a blog), netbook, viral and defriend have all arrived in our language because of the internet.

The financial world has also provided a host of new words including toxic debt, deleveraging (reducing debt by quickly selling assets), overleveraged, quantitative easing and staycation (a holiday spent in your home country).

Many of these were words that, in the past, were only used by economists and City experts, but which have now crept into normal parlance.

The world of national and global politics has contributed a number of new words and phrases including exit strategy, the fog of war, a surge (of troops), overthinking, catatrophizing (presenting a situation as considerably worse than it actually is) and soft skills (personal attributes that let you interact harmoniously with others).

Scientists have provided words connected with the climate. Carbon capture, carbon storage and geoengineering are all ways to help fight global warming.

Other new entries are :

* wardrobe malfunction : when someone exposes an intimate part of their body after clothing slips;

* chill pill: a notional pill to make someone calm;

* bromance : a close but non-sexual relationship between two men;

* LBD (little black dress). This refers to the simple evening or cocktail dress that, it is claimed, should be part of every womans wardrobe; and

* frenemy : a person that one is friendly with despite a fundamental dislike.

A spokesman for publishers Oxford University Press said the dictionary, which was first published in 1998, is based on a huge word bank or corpus which is continually being added to.

The spokesman said : The Oxford Dictionary of English was the first dictionary to be fully based on evidence of how language is really used, with words and senses derived from the latest corpus research.

This third edition of the dictionary draws on the Oxford English Corpus to ensure that it remains at the leading edge of language research.