The Oxford English Dictionary Wants You to Share Your Profession's Slang Terms

iStock.com/Massonstock
iStock.com/Massonstock

The Oxford English Dictionary has been around for 135 years as of February 1, 2019, and the list of terms it recognizes keeps expanding. OED editors are always searching for new words like binge-watch, bromance, and mochaccino to add to the book as they solidify their spots in the lexicon. For a new project, they're calling on their readers to help, The Guardian reports.

If your profession uses slang terms that might be indecipherable to the general public, OED wants to hear about them. Maybe you're an anesthesiologist who uses the Woolworth's Test to determine if a patient can undergo anesthesia (if the patient seems well enough to go shopping at the retail store, they should be OK), or a trucker driver who cruises at a double nickel (55 mph). The dictionary is accepting any suggestions—no matter how obscure.

OED writes on its website that while some professional jargon is meant to keep clients in the dark, others can lead to communication problems: "You'd probably rather not hear your doctor describe someone as a gomer [get out of my emergency room] (that is, a difficult or disagreeable patient), and your veterinary friend may shy away from explaining DSTO (our sources tell us that it means 'dog smarter than owner'). However, at other times, not understanding the words used in a trade just leads to confusion. Not everyone knows, for instance, that sweating the pipes is plumbing slang for soldering two pipes together."

The Oxford English Dictionary is calling on doctors, journalists, teachers, firefighters, and everyone else to share their secret terminology. Some professionals are sharing their contributions on Twitter: Suggestions so far include banana (to walk in a curve, not a straight line, on stage), weed (to remove damaged or unpopular books from a library's inventory), and caped (railway term for a canceled train).

To submit your term directly to OED, you can fill out the form here.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Wa Wa Wee Wa: The Origin of Borat's Favorite Catchphrase

Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

When Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released in 2006, a new audience was exposed to Borat Sagdiyev, a “journalist” portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen who had made frequent appearances on the comedian’s Da Ali G Show.

Soon, in our country there was problem: People mimicked Borat’s catchphrases, "very nice" and “wa wa wee wa,” incessantly. The latter phrase was used to denote surprise or happiness on Borat’s part. While some may have assumed it was made up, it turns out that it actually means something.

Wa wa wee wa is Hebrew, which Cohen speaks throughout the film and which helped make Borat a hit in Israel. (Cohen is himself Jewish.) It was taken from an Israeli comedy show and is the equivalent of the word wow. Reportedly, the expression was popular among Israelis, and they appreciated Cohen’s use of it.

The original Borat also sees Cohen singing a popular Hebrew folk song, “Koom Bachur Atzel,” or “get up lazy boy,” among other Hebrew mentions. It remains to be seen how much of it he’ll be speaking in the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It premieres on Amazon Prime Friday, October 23.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]