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Vuvuzela blows in to updated dictionary

The World Cup, global warming and the recession have all influenced a dictionary containing the newest words in the English language.

The vuvuzela, the horn instrument which provided the soundtrack to this summer's World Cup, is one new entry in the Oxford Dictionary of English, which is based on how language is really used.

The battle to deal with climate change has given us carbon capture and storage -- the process of trapping and storing carbon dioxide -- and geo-engineering -- manipulation of environmental processes in an attempt to counteract global warming.

The financial problems of recent times have introduced toxic debt -- debt which has a high risk of default.

As usual, cyberspace produces a constant supply of words and phrases.



Networking

The dictionary offers social media -- websites and applications used for social networking; microblogging -- the posting of short entries on a site such as Twitter; and dictionary attack -- an attempt to gain illicit access to a computer system by using a large set of words to generate potential passwords.

Some terms seem well known -- for example, staycation -- a holiday spent in one's home country; or national treasure -- someone or something regarded as emblematic of a nation's cultural heritage.

Others will have many people scratching their heads. For example, cheeseball -- lacking style or originality; and hikikomori -- the avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males in Japan.

hnews@herald.ie