Amazeballs: Are We ‘Crowdsourcing’ the English Language Now?

PR pros can certainly understand the value of reaching consensus on an issue: When you’re acting on behalf of a client–be they an individual or an organization–everyone needs to agree on a plan of action before you can really do your job.

Crowdsourcing can be very valuable too, especially when your goal is to present your client with the public’s thoughts on a given topic. But what’s the value of collecting opinions on something that’s supposed to be set in stone? Something like, say, the English language?

British publisher Collins found a way to stand out in the not-exactly-groundbreaking dictionary field this year by crowdsourcing new terms for inclusion in the latest edition of its big word guide. After opening an official call for public suggestions in July, the company announced its final choices this week (full list here). The result is a list that is amusing at the very least–and predictably heavy on tech speak. We’ve separated some choice examples into the categories of “legitimate” and “dubious”:


Crowdfunding – “the funding of a project by a large number of supporters who each contribute a small amount”

Cyberbully – “someone who uses electronic communication to hurt, persecute or intimidate people”

Data cap—“a limit imposed on the amount of data that can be transferred to an electronic device”


Hangry – “irritable as a result of feeling hungry”

Amazeballs – “an expression of enthusiastic approval”

Frape – “to alter information in a person’s profile on a social networking website without his or her permission”

Bridezilla – Ugh.

We feel like Collins can do a little better than those last two, but we do offer our grudging approval of “blootered”, because one can never have too many exotic ways to say “very, very drunk.”

So what’s your opinion? Is this crowdsourced language an example of the new way of doing things a la Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness“, or is it just an excuse for Collins to win some press attention by highlighting ridiculous colloquial terms that should never appear in any kind of official document, much less a linguistic guide like a dictionary?

Extra credit question: What’s your favorite word for plastered, snookered, heavily lacquered, or “intoxicated due to the over-consumption alcoholic beverages?”