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Today’s article is brought to you by Dusty Fox from a website called Listen & Learn, and in this blog post she will look at some of the most popular English words having emerged or re-emerged in the mainstream society. You’ll also find out about the background of those words – such as “hipster” or “locavore”, so without a further ado, it’s over to you – Dusty!
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The English language is an evolving one with new words popping up year after year. It seems like pop culture, social media, and our need to be constantly plugged into an electronic and hyper-connected world is in overdrive. This means new words appear and spread like wild fire, reaching countries in every corner of the world in no time at all.
Some words are instant classics, embraced by all and seamlessly blended into our everyday dialogue. Usually, we don’t even realize the moment we adopt these words and phrases into our vocabulary, but nonetheless, they somehow work their way into conversations, posts, and tweets before we know it. There are plenty of words that are handy to know before striking up a conversation with an English speaker. Test your English level before trying out the new entries in the English vocabulary – here’s a look at some of the trendiest English words that have made headlines over the last several years:
Hashtag – The hashtag – # – directly relates to social media and its infiltration into the mainstream media throughout the U.S. and the world. A hashtag is actually a number symbol – the same one we’ve known for years. When attached to a phrase, it becomes a tracking and search system for Twitter users. Now, more popularly, it’s used as a catchy way to express a funny or often sarcastic thought.
Hipster – This word describes a group of people, a trend, and even a lifestyle that’s on the rise. While the word itself goes back to the 1940s, it has re-emerged in the last several years to describe a group of twenty- and thirty-somethings who can usually be identified by their quirky style. The hipsters of the 1940s represented the jazz music scene and a less rigid lifestyle. Today’s hipsters brew their own beer, listen to indie music, and have a clean and crisp style unlike the loose-fitting trends of past decades.
Locavore – “Locavore” first appeared in 2005 as a play off the words “herbivore” and “carnivore.” It describes people who try to eat local food as much as possible. Those who fall into this category are more likely to avoid processed foods, question big box restaurants, and heavily support the organic food industry. The word represents a shift in thinking as Millennials gained buying power and influence in the marketplace in the mid 2000s. While “bigger” and “flashier” products seemed to dominate the 90s and early 2000s, many people were demanding more local goods and less mass production by the time “locavore” hit the word scene. It’s still a popular word and the movement is continuing to gain steam.
Selfie – The idea of taking a photo of one’s self isn’t brand new, but the popularity of the act has skyrocketed in the last year. As billions – yes, billions – of people open Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts, the selfie has become the norm. Whether you’re on the beach, at a restaurant, or even in your own living room, chances are pretty good you can look around you and see a few camera-friendly individuals snapping selfies that will almost immediately be posted online. “Selfie” was even chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2013, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing it disappear from the English language anytime soon.
Twerk – Though this provocative dance has been around since the early 90s, it wasn’t until 2013 that the word and the dance itself became common knowledge. Now everyone from risqué teenagers to enthusiastic seniors are getting in on the wild dance move.
Dusty Fox is a Listen & Learn writer and world traveler who especially loves Latin American culture and food. She sometimes calls a different city home every day of the week and can’t imagine living life any other way.