I prefer the word augmentation to retraction. What am I referring to? Two weeks ago I discussed the importance of using a dictionary to look up a word, even if the consequences of doing so are embarrassing. I stand by that. I do. There is, however, a “but” that follows this professional expectation. Sometimes the word you’re looking for is simply not in the dictionary.
“Not so!” you say.
“Definitely so,” I reply.
Let’s review. There is no way any dictionary can contain every word out there. Even the most advanced electronic dictionaries have limitations. Case in point. Let me introduce you to an example.
This is a story that happened to a friend. I’ll call her Juliette. Juliette is interpreting for an American teenage celebrity. Let’s call this celebrity Marie. Marie is pretty, perky, loud, and popular. She’s the latest “it” girl. Juliette is called in to interpret for Marie in an interview. Marie is starring next to the latest “it” guy in a show. Let’s call this man Claude. He’s cute, cool, dashing and smashing. Marie is asked in the interview what she thinks of Claude, to which she replies, “OMG! He is soooooo cool!”
Let’s pause here a minute. I looked up OMG in my electronic dictionary. Nothing. Let me be clear. I know what it means. (For those of you who might not be familiar with this phrase, it stands for “oh my God.”) It’s used as short hand in text messages but also now in speech. Young people these days honestly say “OMG” instead of “oh my God.” I kid you not. (No pun intended.) So, Marie said “OMG” and it’s not in the dictionary. It’s important we establish these two points because this is where my not-quite-a-retraction comes in.