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A spot of furry wordwatching

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Advertising for Alex Horne's show 'Wordwatching'

Last night I was in Darlington watching Alex Horne, who is most famous as co-host of the BBC Four comedy panel game We Need Answers. He was performing a show entitled "Wordwatching", which is about his attempts to introduce words that he and his friends have invented into the OED.

So far, while some progress has been made, none of his words (see below) have got in. However, I feel that if we can spread the word around we can get them in. I just hope I do not go on a mental safari during the attempt.

This show has resulted in me asking a question: how come so far no words relating to the furry fandom have got into the OED? After all, the fandom has been in existence for some time (at least since the 1980s).

If the term "furry" has been used to describe both the fandom and the type of characters in it, then I think it should be included. Also, it appears that I am not the only furry with such ideas. There is currently an online petition to get "yiff" in the OED as well, which has over 3,000 signatures.

As a result, I propose that we start a campaign to get as many furry words into the OED as we can.

At the same time, we should also use as main words suggested by Horne and his fellow "verbal gardeners" into our work. Here are the words I propose that we should get into the OED:

• furry/furry fandom - as in someone who is a member of the furry fandom, or an anthropomorphic animal.
• fursona - as in the anthropomorphic personification of a person.
• fursuit - as in a suit or costume that looks like an anthropomorphic animal.
• feathery - as in the bird equivalent of a furry.
• scalie - as in the reptile equivalent of a furry.
• yiff - as in the sound made the foxes mating, the sexual act between furries, furry pornography, expression of joy etc.

If you want any ideas on how to spread the usage, visit Alex Horne's website verbalgardening.com. In the meantime, here are Horne’s own words that he is trying to include. Let see if we can help him.

• Are you there? - an alternative way of saying "hello?" or "yes?" when answering the telephone.
• bollo - descriptive of an unsatisfactory thing or situation, or cry of disgust. For example: "This soup is bollo. Take it back."
• games - descriptive of something really terrible or a bit pretentious.
• honest - euphemistic term for "fat".
• honk - slang for "money".
• Kaplinsky: 6'2" - not actually a word, but a rumour that newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is 6'2" tall.
• mental safari (to go on) - to go mad for a few moments, get ridiculously tongue-tided, or perpetrate a series of rash acts.
• paddles - hands (and for that matter, I suppose paws I guess)
• pratdigger - a pickpocket, or a non-prat friend who invites prats to social events.
• tkday - when you are 10,000 days old. Normally occurs when you are 27 years, 4 months old. (For those interested, my tkday is 27th November 2013.)

Alex Horne has also got a book called Wordwatching out now. For those who now wish to see his stand-up shows, Horne will be selling both signed and singed copies.

Comments

Your rating: None

I can see the word "furry" being in the OED, but the definition would have to be very broad and inclusive definition.

As for stuff like feathery, scaly, and especially yiff, I think they are really only applicable within the furry-to-furry discourse. Despite the fandom receiving more and more publicity, furries will always make up a very small proportion of the population, and thus I feel that they have no place in OED.

I should point out that I am relatively conservative when it comes to word meanings and dictionary updates, so I'd be interested to hear what other furries think about this.

Your rating: None

Well, I know it is a bit ambitious, but if you don't try, you don't get.

Your rating: None

It's about time we got in the dictionary - we've been camping the Wikipedia redirect for over a year now. Surely that counts for something? ;-)

Your rating: None

*facepalm*
I understand trying to get furry in there, but yiff?...
yiff isn't even the sound foxes make, yiff is a acronym!

Your rating: None

What is it an acronym of?

Your rating: None

It's Y.oung I.credibly F F
yeah I can't actually say it though cause the first f is a cuss word and the second f refers to someone being gay.
It's a old 70's gay terminology.

Yeah that's why I'm so opposed to people using that term, it was introduced to the fandom during the confurence drama.

Your rating: None

I thought it stood for Young, Incredibly F-able Furry...

Your rating: None

nah the last f is a term referring to gays.

Your rating: None

Do you have sources for this?

Your rating: None

Does it matter? Either interpretation of the word/acronym isn't appropriate for a real dictionary. I can wholly understand getting "Furry" in there, but the other furry references - along with most of the other words and phrases listed in this article - hardly seem to be in common usage.

Your rating: None

I'm trying to find it, 1970 was a long time before google.
*shudders*
Why does every last word with "gay" have to link to porn?

Your rating: None

The dictionary? A real one?

No, none of our jargon belongs in them. Not yet, anyway.

Your rating: None

I wouldn't be surprised if furry ends up in there, but anything else would probably be pushing it. Pushing it in fact might make the OED people less likely to take any proposed word less serious and thereby get all of them denied.

Yiff might be OED able, however as it is roughly considered to be porn I doubt it.

As for the original meaning of Yiff any word only has the meaning which we assign to it. This is best demonstrated in the south park episode in which they change Fag to mean Harley Riders or those annoying people who speed up to run yellow lights in BMW's.

Better than that Yanks turned Yankee Doodle Dandy into a favorite tune even though the Brits sang it to mock them.

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About the author

The Chained Wolfread storiescontact (login required)

    a journalist and Grey Wolf from England

    I have worked as a journalist formerly for The Furtean Times.