In the times of Trump, you can’t really blame the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for making ‘idiocracy’—defined as rule by persons considered ignorant and anti-intellectual—a legitimate word. Idiocracy may be best depicted by the Trump administration—it refuses climate action even as scientists have sounded the final alarm for action to avoid climate catastrophe, it is caging infants and teens, and in-betweens, as part of its immigration policy, it is endorsing persons in public service with history of oppressive behaviour against various groups of American society. But, it is hardly the only such example. We have the Morrison administration in Australia—whose coral reefs will be wiped out by global warming—shrugging off the climate warnings as it moves forward with an aggressive coal extraction policy. Then, there are the oppressive Duterte and Erdogan administrations in the Philippines and Turkey, respectively, and Bashar al-Assad’s genocidal regime in Syria. As a side note, OED additions should be interesting for historiography, since they are a seismograph for the shake-ups in political and popular culture.
But, focus not on idiots, or even idiocracy. OED also welcomes ‘preppers’—a person who anticipates a catastrophe/emergency and prepares for it. Count Morrison and Trump out of this club. Then, there is ‘trapo’, the politician who swears by status quo, often from “a corrupt, aristocratic” class. You don’t have to hunt for examples, really—there are dime a dozen in every country. The other notable additions to OED-recognised English are ‘fam’ (a shortening of family, usage may vary) and ‘bummock’ (originally meaning the bottom-side of oceanic protuberances, and now, the derrière in certain contexts, used perhaps when the classical bum/buttock simply just doesn’t suffice?). The new additions sure add colour to one’s vocabulary, but puritans would argue that this leaves English ‘bedunged’ (meaning, rather obviously, covered in dung). But, at a time when public discourse is being bedunged by idiocrats, why should language (English or any) keep its imagined sanctity? In fact, thanks are due to OED for such ‘updation’ (OED recognises the word’s Indian English backing)—may we always have the words to describe the Babel we continue descending into.