Collins Accepts New Word Submissions from Public for Online Dictionary
July 17, 2012 | 8:29 am
By Paul Biba
From the press release:
As technology and pop culture transform the English language, Collins, leading British dictionary publisher since 1819, invites the public to play a role in identifying and submitting new words and meanings that should be included in the dictionary.
That means it might only be a matter of time before words like “tweeps” and “Tebowing” officially enter the lexicon alongside other modern-day additions such as “OMG.”
Collins welcomes anyone who speaks English to submit new words through www.collinsdictionary.com to be considered as official entries. Starting this month, anyone can suggest and define words online that will be reviewed by Collins Dictionary editors, who will put the words through the normal rigorous vetting process.
By opening a normally closed submission and review process to the public, Collins will become the most up-to-date and relevant dictionary on the web. Suggestions will be posted on the website for feedback, and users are encouraged to “spread the word” on social media to build support for their proposed entries.
“For Collins Online Dictionary, it was essential that we keep our ear close to the ground listening out for new words emerging from pop culture, science and technology,” said Alex Brown, Head of Digital at Collins. “Most dictionaries are static. By allowing the public to truly participate, we’re ensuring that we stay on top of the evolving English language.”
The debate has already begun. Collins Dictionary has identified an initial list of new word candidates, including “creeping” (“Jersey Shore” style) “cray” (ask Jay-Z and Kanye West), “legbomb” (think Angelina Jolie at the Oscars) and “yolo” (“carpe diem” with a twist). The list also includes “mantyhose,” “superphone,” “sweatworking,” “Tebowing,” “tweeps” and “twitlit.”
Because many of the words have emerged from pop culture and social media, the publisher is inviting celebrities, bloggers and writers to get their followers to rally around the words they love – or against those they hate.
“We know people are passionate about the preservation and evolution of the English language, and we want to tap into that as new words continue to capture the public imagination,” added Brown.
Whether a word has been around for years or just been coined, it will go through the same review process by Collins Dictionary editors using criteria that includes frequency of use, number of sources and staying power. Evidence will be based on the publisher’s 4.5 billion-word database of language called the Collins Corpus, which takes words from a wide range of spoken and written English sources, including newspapers, radio and social media.
Every word has to prove itself worthy of a place in the Collins Dictionary, meaning advocates need to make a compelling case for their entries. Example sentences, word origins and a higher number of overall uses could help a word get noticed. Collins Dictionary editors will generally provide feedback on a word within two or three weeks of submission, and words that aren’t initially accepted will continue to be monitored and reviewed over the next year.
Collins, one of the world’s longest-established dictionary publishers, launched www.collinsdictionary.comon Dec. 31, 2011. The word suggestion feature will be a permanent feature on the website accessible atwww.collinsdictionary.com/submission from July 2012.