Feeds

Omnishambles beats off mummy-porn, becomes English word of 2012

Thick Of It whips Fifty Shades of Grey

Security for virtualized datacentres

The UK's new word of 2012 is "omnishambles", according to the Oxford English Dictionary's compilers.

Selected from a list of several new words added to the gold-standard dictionary this year, omnishambles was chosen by lexicographers at Oxford University Press because it best reflects the mood of the past 12 months. It was first used by the character Malcolm Tucker in series three of the BBC satire The Thick of It and subsequently repeated by the Coalition government's political opponents.

Dictionary compiler Susie Dent said it's a popular word that can be used to describe anything from the BBC's response to allegations of child sex abuse to the government's budget U-turns and G4S's Olympic security contract cock-up.

The OED now defines it as:

A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

Other contenders were "mummy porn" (a description of the genre inspired by smack'n'tickle ebook bonkbuster 50 Shades of Grey), "green-on-blue" (to describe attacks by Afghan police or troops on NATO servicemen), the verb "medal" (from the Olympics), "eurogeddon" (from Eurozone crisis) and the acronym "YOLO" (contraction of the trite phrase "You Only Live Once", mostly used as a justification after someone does something stupid on the internet).

Americans - who get their own list - were given "GIF" as their new word of the year from the Oxford English Dictionary. GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, is not a new thing but its inclusion is testament to the resurgence of the image file format.

The etymology of shambles is a term for a fish or meat market that evolved to describe a slaughterhouse, a scene of carnage or mess. "Omni", a Latin prefix for "all", suggests omnishambles means all-round confusion and havoc.

The dictionary compilers were particularly tickled by the tweaking of omnishambles to Romneyshambles - used to describe Mitt Romney after he slagged off the London Olympics. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
Now: The REAL APPLE NEWS you need to know
OMG! Gravity's totes amazeballs. Calm down, George Clooney, not your film
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Let's make an app that POSTS your POO to APPLE HQ
Plus: It's OPEN WARFARE in the Linux greybeard world
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.