Cripes, Boris, it's Susie Dent again

From Thursday's thelondonpaper:

According to experts, 2008 has already given the English language more than 100 new words, ranging from the common "credit crunch" to "glamping" - to describe posh camping. Top of the list is "Cripes!" meaning surprise or shock, synonymous with Boris Johnson.


Where do I start? We've already had the discussion on whether 'credit crunch' is a word, so I'll leave that to one side. But is BoJo really synonymous with surprise or shock? And who else here knew of 'cripes' (with or without initial cap and exclamation) before 2008?

Thelondonpaper adds:

[Cripes] has joined a list of other words which have been so well-used in the past year they could be included in the Oxford English Dictionary


So only well used words make it into the OED? And 'cripes' isn't in the OED? Anyone have one to hand to confirm this? 'Cripes' is in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, so it would be utterly shocking if it wasn't in the full OED as well.

And who are these 'experts'? The only one named in the article is Susie Dent, who I'm guessing is on a mission to shift a few copies of her new book.

2 comments:

Jon Boy said...

The first citation for cripes in the full OED is from 1910. I wonder where they got the notion that it's new. And I read an article about glamping at least a year ago (I thought that it was a pretty inane word back then, and that opinion hasn't changed.

Virtual Linguist said...

I think Cripes! may have been one of Billy Bunter's favourite words, along with Crikey! (both corruptions of Christ) and Yarrooh! and Bunter first made his appearance in 1908.

As an aside, the online version of the OED is available to just about everyone free of charge. See my October 3rd blog post where I say how.
http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2008/10/reading-the-oxford-english-dictionary.html