Crunk is good? Among the hot new words, it's ova-wicked, even uberbuff.
Susie Dent, a longtime student of evolving English, has written the book "Fanboys and Overdogs: The Language Report," which is being published Thursday and newly coined words with their definitions, as well as jargon used in technology, politics, television and the media.
"Crunk" _ the American hybrid for "crazy" and "drunk" _ was a good example of how words evolved from popular culture, Dent said.
"Crunk is generating all sorts of offshoot terms in the U.S. _ crunk 'n' b, crunk rock, crunkster _ and looks set to catch on in Britain, too," Dent said. "New words travel from one variety of English to another and at a rapidly increasing rate, thanks to the way language is exchanged today over e-mail, chat-rooms, TV, etc." Dent's new book also discusses the tendency "big up" our language.
Nothing is ever "good" or even "great" anymore _ instead, we opt for "ova-wicked" and "uberbuff." Government appointees are "tsars," and experts are "meisters."
Job titles also reflect this kind of inflation. The "head of verbal communications" is really just a receptionist, while stockboys have been promoted to "stock replenishment executives."
As for the "fanboys" referred to in the book's title, they're guys who are absorbed by a passion for comic books or computer games, the AP reports.
"'Fanboys' reflects both British and American English," Dent said, explaining there was a clear relationship between the two as seen in the word "fanboy," which is predominantly used in Britain but started in the United States. The book also looks at vocabulary shifts from the past century, and gives a "Word A Year" list from 1905 to 2005. 1905 introduced "peace economy," with "tyrannosaurus" following in 1906. Many words on the list are related to events _ 1940 introduced "Jim Crow" and 1980 brought "Reaganomics."
Recent years brought "dotcom" (1994), "speed dating" (1998) and "SARS" (2002). "Podcasting" was last year's word. The frontrunner for the 2005 word of the year is "sudoku," the logic puzzle that has replaced crosswords as Britain's favorite way to kill time over lunch break.
"Fanboys" is Dent's third annual language review book, publicist Sarah Kidd said. Dent is a resident word expert on Channel 4's "Countdown" program. "Fanboys" was compiled with the help of the language monitoring program behind the Oxford English Dictionary. AM