June 11, 2014

“Adorkable” is a word, and it’s going in the English Dictionary

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Adorkable, isn't she just?

Adorkable, isn’t she just? Image via Shutterstock

Collins, the publisher of the Collins English Dictionary recently took to Twitter to find a new word to add to its 12th print edition of the Collins English Dictionary. They asked tweeters to suggest new words that should be added to the dictionary, and then produced a shortlist of the most popular suggestions. The shortlist was put to a vote, and now the people have spoken.

What word did the people chose? “Adorkable”.

If like me, you’ve never heard the word before, you’ll be relieved to know it now has a dictionary definition:

adorkable (əˈdɔːkəbəl) adj slang

socially inept or unfashionable in a charming or endearing way

ETYMOLOGY C21: blend of ADORABLE and DORK

Or, as the Guardian puts it, think “Zooey Deschanel, in a pair of glasses that she doesn’t medically need, attempting to give you a friendship bracelet she made but falling on her bottom in the process.”

Gaining 30% of the vote, “Adorkable” beat off other strong contenders of words you’ve probably never heard of before, such as “felfie” (a farmer selfie) and “fatberg”, a large mass of solid fat clogging a sewer.

For those of you hoping to incorporate “Adorkable” into your everyday vocabulary, the Guardian provides a handy guide to defining and using the word:

What does it mean? It’s a blend of “adorable” and “dork”. If you are socially inept in an endearing way, you’re adorkable.

So if I wear pink earmuffs to a job interview? You’re adorkable!

And if I’ve ever tried to assemble flatpack furniture with a Hello Kitty toy screwdriver? You’re adorkable!

And if I’ve ever broken into a former partner’s house so I could eat their food and sleep in their bed when they were out? It depends. Did you do it while wearing an ironic charity shop jumper?

Sure. You’re adorkable!

Whether or not the means of finding and including the word were strictly correct is another matter. Although the Economist’s Prospero blog praised the Collins team for their creativity, it questions whether this is the right way to compile a dictionary:

Lexicographers should be logging the words people actually do use, not the ones they say they like. Sometimes these two may be one and the same, of course. But it is also easy to imagine people voting for a cute coinage they would never actually utter or write.

 

Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.

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