Crowdsourcing a dictionary

Life would be a little richer, a little sweeter, if we never had to hear the word staycation again.

Oblication is a different story.

Oblication is defined, by Tommy (we'll explain in a minute), as "a vacation that's scheduled and/or planned to allow you to fulfill some obligations, like visiting friends or family."

Brilliant, right? It should totally be a word. And it might be one, if the editors at Collins Dictionary agree.

Collins Dictionary has invited the public (folks like Tommy) to submit new words to be considered for inclusion in their online dictionary. Submissions began on Monday, and the site had about 200 entries as of Tuesday afternoon.

"My personal favorites are those which really sound like they should be words," says Alex Brown, head of digital at HarperCollins UK. " 'Shwash, second-hand screen wash that flies from the vehicle in front and forces you to also wash your windscreen.' 'Mobydiculous, ridiculous on an epic scale.' "

In addition to oblication, we're partial to "phubbing, the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention."

"The idea came out of the work our editors do all the time; researching new words to compile the next edition of the Collins English Dictionary," says Brown. "Opening this up to the public through social media seemed like the natural next step."

You can submit a word at, which you can also link to directly from Facebook or Twitter. Then the vetting begins.

"Our editorial team will research usage of each word in our 4.5 billion word database of language, which is gathered from a huge range of sources including newspapers, books, radio and, now, social media," says Brown. "Ultimately it's a decision based on objective evidence from these sources—frequency of use being the most obvious—but also potential longevity and how widely the word is used."

It's too early to guess which words will make the final cut, but the list so far is a fun way to pass the time. And Collins Dictionary plans to keep the submissions open year-round.

"With everyone's help," he says, "we can spot more new words and make our snapshot of English as live and dynamic as possible."

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