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Tell Your Bestie: The OED Has New Words





BLOCK: If I said to you I need a do-over with the honky-tonker I interviewed the other day, I was kind of wackadoo, would you know what I was saying?

SIEGEL: Sort of.

BLOCK: Well, for those who aren't quite as savvy as you are, the words do-over, honky-tonker and wackadoo are all now officially in the Oxford English Dictionary.

KATHERINE CONNOR MARTIN: I love the word wackadoo.

SIEGEL: Who doesn't? That's Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. Dictionaries at Oxford University Press and she has this OED definition of wackadoo.

MARTIN: Crazy or eccentric or it can be used as a noun to refer to a crazy or eccentric person.

BLOCK: The OED considers itself the definitive record of the English language and Martin says since English is always evolving, so is the OED. It's actually revised four times a year.

SIEGEL: This time, the word honey gets a lot of attention. I guess that means the editor did some work in the H section.

BLOCK: There's honey-blonde, honey jar, honey mustard, honey parrot, honey trap, even honey-bunny.

MARTIN: A term of endearment, like sweetheart or darling, although people also use it with reference to their children. That seems to be the first usage we have from 1887, a reference to you precious little honey-bunny boy.

SIEGEL: Ethnopharmacological has also been added to the OED. That's of or relating to ethnopharmacology, of course.

BLOCK: Of course. And there's also Coney Island and scissor-tailed flycatcher. That's a bird. You knew that, Robert.


BLOCK: And bestie.

SIEGEL: Bestie. That's a BFF. Melissa, back to how we started all of this. I hope that that honky-tonker becomes your bestie after that do-over.

BLOCK: I hope so, too. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.