Shropshire Star

Collins Dictionary's new words for 2016: From Corbynoid to Boaty McBoatface here are some you might have missed

Every year, the Collins Dictionary releases its new words of the year list and pretty much every year it is a mixture of the obvious, the perplexing and the downright bizarre.


We could all probably have predicted that the word of this year was going to be Brexit, since it's impossible to escape from it, to Brexscape if you will. See, there's another one!

But who knew about the "snowflake generation", that peculiar social group of young people who manage to be offended by pretty much anything in modern life, from fitness product advertisements to "sexist" Halloween outfits?

Who was aware of the "mic drop", a metaphorical act of finality that one performs when one believes that an argument or debate has just been won in spectacular style?

And was anyone really au fait with the Scandinavian concept of "hygge", which is, we are told, an appreciation of a convivial environment which promotes good feeling and wellbeing in all attending?

The Collins list is only ever 10 terms long, however, which means that, in a year as wildly unpredictable as 2016, there were always going to be some omissions.

Luckily, the Shropshire Star's expert linguists have them for you now…

Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface (proper noun)

Not a word, as such, so much as a suggested entry in the competition to name the naval research boat that would eventually become the RRS Sir David Attenborough, despite Boaty McBoatface actually winning the poll.

Since then, however, unimaginative people have used the "Blank-y Mc-Blank-face" template as a means to get a cheap and easy laugh, to the extent that there is now a pub in Wrexham called "Pubby McPubface", for example. Oh, how we chortled.

Virtue signal (vb)

It has become impossible to avoid virtue signalling thanks to social media. In a nutshell, it can be defined as "the act of appearing to do good and support a worthy cause without expending any actual energy at all".

So classic acts of virtue signal involve tweeting a cause's hashtag, taking a selfie or changing your profile picture so that it reflects current world events. The minimum of effort, the maximum reminder to the world that YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON.

Lucille (n)

A very new addition to the list, the act of "going Lucille" or "doing a Lucille" on someone means administering a complete trouncing, usually in the sporting arena.

Lucille is the enormous baseball bat employed by the character of Negan in the TV series The Walking Dead with which he doles out bludgeonings to his enemies, and so the name has quickly become associated with almighty whuppings in other contexts.

May Man (n)

A strange thing has happened over the summer – men up and down the land have become smitten with new Prime Minister Theresa May, despite her being 60 years of age.

This sudden upsurge in "May Men", happy to confess their feelings of adoration for the PM, seems to have coincided with the revelation that she has an extensive collection of leopardskin-print kitten heels and calf boots. Peculiarly, at no stage in the past year has there been a rise in "Farage Fillies" or "Gove Girls". Odd, that.

Indirect (vb)

Another adjunct of the social media age, the act of indirecting is a complex and yet popular one. In a nutshell, it means making an apparently vague statement about something happening in the world on social media, that is in fact very specifically referring to a single person with whom you have some kind of dispute.

The object of indirecting will inevitably see the statement and know that it's about them, but will appear paranoid if they rise to the obvious bait.

Detractors of indirecting have said that it is cheap, passive-aggressive and really rather cowardly. Meanwhile, supporters of indirecting have said that it is cheap, passive-aggressive and really rather cowardly.

Corbynoid; Jezuit (both n)

We're all aware of the Corbynites, the staunch followers of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but there are actually those devout acolytes who fall into an even higher category – the Corbynoids are seen to obey their leader as a robot would the word of its master, whereas the Jezuits follow him with the religious zeal of a devout Christian. It is almost certainly possible to be both a Corbynoid and a Jezuit. Neither term, it should be noted, is intended as a compliment.

Bigly (adj)

An interesting one, this – a word that has slipped into the cultural lexicon by way of a simple misinterpretation.

Apparently, in one of his speeches, Donald Trump (ah, finally, we've got to him) used the word "bigly" to mean "in a major way". Writers everywhere were baffled by the term, but pretty soon it had become a thing, both as popular slang ('It's payday today, I'm going to bigly party') and as short-hand for how stupid Trump actually is.

He, however, claims that he actually said "big league" which of course makes perfect sense. But most people are happy to stick with the original version, which makes him look silly.

Trumpkin (collective n)

That said, the Trumpkin would not allow such mockery, since they are anyone who aligns themselves so closely to Donald Trump and his campaign that they feel like he is family.

Interestingly, the word Trumpkin became so popular in the States in recent times that, when Halloween came about, it was a minor sensation to build a "Trumpkin" rather than a traditional hollowed-out pumpkin face, and attempt to get your pumpkin looking as close to Trump as possible, even if that meant putting a wig on it.

Remoaner (n)

It's very difficult to get away from Brexit in this year's list, it having thrown up a whole entire new lexicon of terms that have become part of our lexical status quo.

This is probably the best of them, descriptive of that particular type of person who voted to Remain, found themselves on the losing side of the Referendum, and basically won't stop complaining about it.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.