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Jedi, Klingons invade new dictionary


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start quote"Generally, a word has to be used five times in five different places over five years."end quote
-- Claire Turner

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Science fiction's "Jedi" warriors and "Klingon" bad guys have entered the newest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, along with "asylum seekers," "asymmetrical warfare" and "spin control."

The first new edition in nearly a decade of the short version of the classic word bible will appear on Thursday, with 3,500 new entries, from "ass-backwards" to "warp drive."

Britain's prime minister Tony Blair is immortalised with "Blairism," "Blairite," "New Labour," "Old Labour" and the ill-fated construction project, the "Millennium Dome."

New slang terms include "get real" and "badass."

There are also 500 new quotations. Among the writers whose literary citations appear for the first time are best sellers Tom Clancy and Nick Hornby, "Bridget Jones" author Helen Fielding and, inevitably, "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling.

But although new words from science fiction favorites like "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" have made it, words coined for the "Harry Potter" books are still too new to appear.

"Generally, a word has to be used five times in five different places over five years, although something like 'text messaging' got in quicker because it became so widely used so quickly," said spokeswoman Claire Turner.

Rowling gets credit for notable uses of old words, such as "beefy" -- an adjective describing Harry's awful uncle Vernon -- and "stump," as in: "Powdered root of what to an infusion of what? Harry glanced at Ron, who looked as stumped as he was."

But "muggle" -- Rowling's made-up word for people who are not wizards -- is still listed only as an early 20th century American slang term for a marijuana cigarette.

Bet you didn't know that.



Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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