Athleisure, et. al.
One of my colleagues, Ayet, a Marketing professor asked, “Is at leisure one word or two words?”
“Two words, of course,” I replied, with a thought balloon, You didn’t know?!
It turned out that it was I who didn’t know. Tut-tut, you're slipping, I berated my unenlightened self.
She meant, athleisure—a term I heard of only then. How could have I not known that weird word?
With the help of a quick digital research, I discovered that “athleisure was first used in 1976 on an advertisement for trainers, but its sudden rise saw the word officially enter the US Merriam Webster dictionary in April, 2016. It is defined as casual clothing to be worn for exercising and for general use.”
I came from an era when sleepwear was for sleeping and lounge wear was for lounging.
But in this digital age, weird concepts, and therefore words, are born every minute. Creative people coin or invent them. Whenever I hear one for the first time, I say, “Duh.” Now I find myself saying “duh” with more frequency than ever before. A word, however, is not a bonafide word until it makes it into a legitimate dictionary.
How does a word get into a dictionary?
Frequency of usage. When it is widely used by people and often cited in an extensive range of publications—for a significant period of time—the dictionary editors research how the word is expressed in context to find its basic meaning. This process used to take years, but with global connectivity, the journey to a dictionary has been drastically shortened.
And because language is alive and is evolving, old words in the dictionary now have new meanings: cloud, scroll, and tablet to name a few.
Happily, one of the oldest words in the Bible is grace. To Christians, its meaning remains unchanged.
The year has not yet ended and already more than 1,000 words have been added to Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionary.
Some of the new words I learned before I heard of athleisure were: NBD, awesomesauce, lookbook, and agender.
If you still don’t know what they mean, you may say “duh” but look them up quickly and be a hipster.