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June 08, 2009

There will soon be 1 million English words

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The number of words in the Oxford English Dictionary is about to pass the one million mark. Simon Winchester wrote in the Daily Telegraph: 'It is not known which the millionth word will be, but those on the brink of entering the language as finalists for the one millionth English-language word include "zombie banks", or those banks that would be defunct without government intervention; the pejorative "noob", referring to a newcomer to a given task or community, as in "She's a complete noob to guerrilla gardening"; and "quendy-trendy", meaning hip or up-to-date.'

Here are the finalists for the 1 millionth word:

* Chengguan: Urban management officers, a cross between mayors, sheriffs and city managers.
* Jai Ho!: From the Hindi, “It is accomplished”; achieved English-language popularity through the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
* Mobama: Relating to the fashion sense of the US First Lady, as in “that is quite mobama-ish”.
* Noob: From the gamer community; a neophyte in playing a particular game; used as a disparaging term.
* Phelpsian: The accomplishments of Michael Phelps at the Beijing Olympics.
* Quendy-Trendy: British youth-speak for hip or up-to-date.
* Wonderstar: As in Susan Boyle, an overnight sensation, exceeding all reasonable expectations.
* Zombie Banks: Banks that would be dead if not for government intervention.

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