“Hoverboards have been in the news a lot in the past year or so – figures from Oxford Dictionaries New Monitor Corpus suggest that after two years of relative silence on the subject of floating skateboards in contemporary written sources, 2014 saw a sudden explosion of interest, and frequency of use is still on the rise.”
Dent went on to say that the fact that this year is a big one for Back To The Future Fans might just have had something to do with it too: “July saw the thirtieth anniversary of the first film’s release, while next month brings an even more significant date: 21 October 2015, the point in the future to which Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown travel in order to save Marty’s kids from themselves in its 1989 sequel, Back to the Future Part II.”
“While some of the technology on show in that film’s futuristic version of Hill Valley’s Courthouse Square is now relatively familiar in our own 2015 (tablet computers, worn technology, and biometric locks), other promised advances (flying cars, domestic fusion generators, and holographic 3D movie advertisements) still seem a long way from everyday reality.”
And with people across the globe actually trying to bring the gadgets to life, OED decided there was no better time to define them.
“The prototypes unveiled by Lexus and ArxPax recently clearly satisfy the most important criteria for Back to the Future fans: they hover. Both rely on the repelling power of intense magnetic fields—generated by superconducting magnets cooled by liquid nitrogen—acting on a special magnetized track. So neither holds out the possibility that we’ll all be zooming around towns and cities on them anytime soon.”
“Whether these devices take off (while not actually taking off) remains to be seen; certainly, they haven’t been round long enough to be included in the new OED entry, which restricts itself to boards that Marty McFly would recognise.”