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‘Credit crunch’ enters the dictionary

The terms “credit crunch,” “carbon footprint” and “wardrobe malfunction,”  as well as a number of environment-related terms, have become such staples that they have won entry into the new version of The Chambers Dictionary.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The terms “credit crunch,” “carbon footprint” and “wardrobe malfunction” have become such staples that they have won entry into the new version of The Chambers Dictionary, the publisher announced Thursday.

The new words reflect “today's preoccupations” with the environment, the faltering economy, and — of course — celebrity gossip, the dictionary's Edinburgh, Scotland-based publisher said.

Chambers is the second British dictionary to announce inclusion in its pages of credit crunch — “a sudden and drastic reduction in the availability of credit” — indicating how deeply Britons are feeling the effects of the economic turmoil on their pocketbooks. In July, the Oxford English Dictionary earmarked the phrase for its upcoming edition.

Among the hundreds of new entries are environment-related terms including food miles (“the distance traveled from the place where food is produced to the place where it is eaten, considered in terms of the environmental damage that transporting it entails”), green tax (“a tax imposed with the intention of discouraging activities that may damage the environment”), and eco-village (“a small-scale, environmentally friendly settlement designed for sustainable living”).

The now-ubiquitous phrase carbon footprint is defined as "the impact of human activity measured in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide it causes to be emitted into the atmosphere."

Chambers' 11th edition will also include terms most commonly seen in the pages of gossip magazines, such as “wardrobe malfunction,” which follows from Janet Jackson's supposedly accidental exposure of her breast at the Super Bowl.

Chambers defines the phrase as "the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered."

First published in 1901 by Scottish brothers William and Robert Chambers, The Chambers Dictionary is one of Britain's three best-selling dictionaries and a favorite of crossword solvers because it contains more unconventional and eccentric words than many of its rivals.

It is also known for including the odd witty definition, like that for eclair: “a cake, long in shape but short in duration.”