Oxford Dictionary Adds Gombey, Acegirl, Mug

March 16, 2021 | 6 Comments

Gombey, aceboy, acegirl, greeze and mug are among the new words added in the latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary, with the word onion also receiving a new description as being a “native or inhabitant of Bermuda.”

This was called a “landmark moment” for the Oxford English Dictionary [OED], which dates back to the 1800s, with Bermudian English becoming the “smallest national variety” to be represented in the OED.

This appears to be largely due to efforts from Bermudian Dr Rosemary Hall, with her entry on the OED website stating, “Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with the OED as a consultant on a set of new Bermudian English entries.

“While the addition of this batch of words is particularly exciting for me as a Bermudian, it is also a landmark moment for the OED and for World English enthusiasts. With an estimated 65,000 speakers, Bermudian English is the smallest national variety yet to be represented in the OED.”

Word Art Gombey generic 0934523 TWFB (1)

“If you don’t know where Bermuda is, you’re not alone. Contrary to popular belief, it is not in the Caribbean, but around 1,000 miles away in the North Atlantic Ocean. Politically speaking, Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, currently the oldest one remaining. Geographically, though, it is located much closer to the US mainland than to the UK.

“Bermuda’s location is probably one of the reasons why its dialect has been under-studied for so many years, even among scholars of lesser-known varieties of English. Linguists classify World Englishes into groups including the British Isles and the Americas and the Caribbean, and while Bermuda has links with both of these areas, it does not neatly fit into either category.

“While it’s true that Bermudian English shares a range of words and sounds with British, American, and Caribbean Englishes, it also has many unique features, meaning it’s probably most accurate to say that it’s a dialect in a category of its own.”

Dr Hall noted the “v-w interchange” saying the “sound in words like vex and when varies freely between [v], [w], and an intermediate sound,” and she also noted that “Well is a Bermudian word applied exclusively to food, meaning delicious.”

“It’s a delight to see Bermudian words and authors cited in the OED, and to see English from the perspective of this small island nation represented there for the first time,” Dr Hall noted, and if you go through the actual online dictionary, you can see the citations, Bernews is cited for a use of ‘acegirls,’ Glenn Jones, the BTA Interim CEO, has a tweet cited where he used ‘Chingas’, and many others are cited as well.

There were 1,400 words added overall to the Oxford English Dictionary with over a dozen of them classified as ‘Bermudian English” which has been given the acronym “BerE.”

Bermudian words added to the OED in the March 2021 update

  • aceboy, n.
  • acegirl, n.
  • Bermudian English, adj. and n.
  • chingas, int.
  • chopse, v.
  • chopsing, n.
  • go long, phrase in ‘long, adv.2
  • Gombey, n.
  • greeze, n.
  • gribble, adj.
  • mice, v.
  • mug, adj.2
  • Onion, n.
  • well, adj. and n.3
  • wrinch, v.2


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Comments (6)

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  1. Dread says:

    Stop miceing bie!

  2. Weird says:

    RIP the English Language. Thanks Dr. Rosemary!

  3. Question says:

    Bermujan verds.

  4. Nicke says:

    Noway buh…smh.

  5. Ladeej says:

    I love this! We have been recognized for “how we talk” which is like no-one else! Hopefully, the OED will add more of our Bermujan verds to the dictionary in the future!

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