Oxford English Dictionary adds new words for mansplainers and snowflakes alike


The Oxford English Dictionary added more than 1,000 words in an update this week. Just be careful not to “mansplain” the new additions to your friends, especially if they’re “hangry” from skipping lunch.

One of the more notable additions to the online dictionary is “mansplain,” which it defines as “(Of a man): explain (something) needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, esp. (typically when addressing a woman) in a manner thought to reveal a patronizing or chauvinistic attitude.”

On the Oxford Dictionaries blog, the publisher’s head of U.S. dictionaries, Katherine Connor Martin, notes that the word first surfaced less than 10 years ago in the comments section of a Live Journal blog. Its use rapidly spread and shows no signs of slowing down.


The word “hangry” (“bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger”) was first used in 1956, but never caught on until the 21st century, Martin writes.

The dictionary added a new definition to the word “snowflake,” which is now used as an insult for “an overly sensitive or easily offended person, or one who believes they are entitled to special treatment on account of their supposedly unique characteristics.”

The sense of “snowflake” as a unique person dates back to 1983, but it only became used as an insult after novelist Chuck Palahniuk employed it in his 1996 novel “Fight Club.” It’s now used frequently by conservatives on social media as a derogatory term for people they find affectedly delicate. (Palahniuk, for the record, does not seem pleased at having inspired this.)

The hip-hop star Jay-Z is responsible for a new usage of a word in the Oxford English Dictionary: “swag,” in the sense of “bold self-assurance of style or manner.” This form of the word was first used by the rapper in his song “December 4th,” the dictionary says, in which he proclaims, “My self-esteem went through the roof, man. I got my swag.”

Other new words added to the dictionary include “false flag” (“a political or military act orchestrated in such a way that it appears to have been carried out by a party that is not in fact responsible”); “me time” (“time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others”); and “lactivist” (“a person who strongly advocates, or campaigns in support of, breastfeeding”).