The 5th edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary has added 5,000 words, including “chillax,” “selfie,” and “frenemy,” a move that recognizes the evolving nature of the English language (and probably gives younger players an edge!).
According to Merriam-Webster, a “frenemy” is someone “who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy.”
That would describe my husband’s perspective on neologisms, new words entering the English language. On the surface, he’s fairly progressive about language—he has no qualms about starting sentences with conjunctions or separating sentences with only one space after the period—but he’s skeptical of new words.
As he says:
I love obscure English words and untranslatable words from other languages. Bring on the tsundoku, the backpfeifengesicht, the hygge, the mamihlapinatapei, because each represents a distinct concept that requires a sentence to explain. That’s the same standard I apply to English neologisms. For example, frenemy, a word that goes back almost to World War II, has a complicated, subtle meaning that varies by context.
Cremains? Blawg? Framily? Friendtor? To pretend these words advance the English language is redonkulous.
Sprint’s “framily plan” ad campaign really annoys him. “We don’t need that word,” he insists each and every time he hears the commercial. “It’s a failed portmanteau. They crammed together ‘friends’ and ‘family,’ but your ‘framily plan’ will never include all of your friends and family, unless you can count them on your hands, because you can’t add more than 10 people.” He adds, “They should have called it ‘the decahedron’.”
He really could go on and on about it, but I’ll spare you. 😉
The wisdom of using such an unappealing “word” in advertisements is questionable, but who knows, maybe we’ll welcome it into our language “framily” someday. Stranger things have happened in the English language. Literally.