A hazard of the approaching new year is that dictionaries come out with their lists of new words for 2007, the truthiness of which is sometimes, er, thank you, Stephen Colbert. The Oxford English Dictionary tries to be a bit above this, but they get the headline today for adding this entry:
"Shagadelic, adj. slang: Sexy, esp. in a psychedelic or `retro' way. Also as a general term of approval. Popularized by the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) a parody of 1960s spy films, in which the term was used as a catchphrase by the main character."
The O.E.D says it adds thousands of words a year, including, this year, flip phone, pustulent, QALY, bap, and putz (which was already in the dictionary, but not as a verb).
("Godzone," by the say, comes from New Zealand, short for "God's Own Country." The O.E.D. says "Blankie" is 80 years old, short for--well, didn't you have one as a kid?)
Merriam-Webster, as you may have see earlier in the week, ran a contest online and declared its word of the year to be "w00t (interjection): expressing joy, similar in use to the word 'yay'"--also short for "We Owned the Other Team," borrowed from the gaming world. The announcement got them some play yesterday--never mind that the word isn't yet in Webster's.
Dictionary.com has a word-of-the-month list, though few of them are new. "Subprime mortgage" was their phrase for December, in case you've been living in a cave instead of a foreclosed house. "Itch Mite" was the winner for August; they cite a reference on ABCNews.com.
The Internet has made the search for new words a bit more scientific. Editors can now devise algorithms to tell them if a word is a new appearance, growing in use. But a lot of this is done low-tech, sometimes in a spirit of, well, self-promotion.
So new candidates are welcome. Just don't be snitty about it.