Press release modesty

From Sim Aberson, a link to an NPR story of December 3rd: “The Ant’s Pants? Oxford Dictionaries Adds 1,000 New Terms” by Bill Chappell, The overview:

With terms like mahoosive and al desko, the editors of say they’ve made the largest quarterly update in their history, adding definitions for 1,000 words.

We’ll clarify that while the digital service is affiliated with Oxford University, it’s officially separate from the venerable dictionary.

The new additions range from pop culture (“xlnt” and “permadeath”) to business-speak (“algorithmic trading”).

And they include three definitions with taboo avoidance in them:

ish, n.: (US informal) used as a euphemism for ‘sh–t’

PMSL, abbrev.: (vulgar slang, chiefly Brit.) p–ing myself laughing (used to express great amusement)

WTAF, abbrev.: (vulgar slang) what the actual f–

Not NPR’s doing: the list on their site is taken verbatim from the press release.

But on the actual site (assembled by lexicographers), the definitions use the taboo vocabulary: shit, pissing, fuck. The modesty is for press releases. Just in case children or the easily offended are reading the releases, I suppose.

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