Word in Their Ear

‘Woke,’ ‘Post-Truth’ Enter Oxford English Dictionary

The latest update to Britain’s Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the definitive catalogue of officially accepted English words, will see “woke” (as in “get woke”) and “post-truth” both included, with the venerable tome stating: “By the mid-20th century, woke had been extended figuratively to refer to being ‘aware’ or ‘well informed’ in a political or cultural sense.” Post-truth was named as 2016’s word of the year, and is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The new update has also resulted in etymologists adding a new last word to the English language: Until now, the last alphabetic entry was zythum, a kind of malt beer brewed in ancient Egypt. However Words With Friends aficionados will be delighted that the OED now concludes with a word with a double z, “Zyzzyva,” a tropical weevil native to South American that is usually found on or near palm trees.