The Thick of It’s omnishambles and other new entries into the Oxford English Dictionary

Twerking, selfie and double denim are among the words deemed increasingly visible over the past twelve months

Most of his language is not fit to print yet The Thick of It’s sweary spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker has made it into the Oxford English Dictionary with its 2012 word of the year, omnishambles.


The term – first coined by Peter Capaldi’s character in the political satire, and later adopted by Ed Miliband to describe the caravan and pasty taxes – is defined by the OED as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations”.

Joining omnishambles in the latest edition of the dictionary are a series of popular culture entries, including twerk – the thrusting dance move demonstrated by a scantily clad Miley Cyrus at last weekend’s MTV VMAs.

According to Katherine Connor Martin from Oxford Dictionaries, the word twerk has been in the global vernacular for the last twenty years, previously used colloquially in US hip hop culture. 

“By last year, it had generated enough currency to be added to our new words watch list,” she explained, “and by this spring, we had enough evidence of usage frequency in a breadth of sources to consider adding it to our dictionaries of current English.

“There are many theories about the origin of this word, and since it arose in oral use, we may never know the answer for sure. The current reaction to twerking is reminiscent in some ways of how the twisting craze was regarded in the early 1960s, when it was first popularised by Chubby Checker’s song, The Twist.” 

Twerk and omnishambles are joined in the dictionary by…

Babymoon (a relaxing pre-baby holiday)
Blondie (a rich, sweet desert bar, typically flavoured with butterscotch or vanilla)
Buzzworthy (likely to attract the attention of the public)
Chandelier earring (an elaborate dangling earring)
Dappy (silly or lacking in concentration)
Digital detox (to refrain from the use of electronic devices)
Double denim (when a denim jacket or shirt is worn with a pair of jeans or denim skirt) 
Fauxhawk (a hairstyle in which a section of hair running from the front to back of the head stands erect)
FOMO (fear of missing out)
Food baby (a protruding stomach caused by eating large quantities of food)
Internet of things (proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data)
Selfie (a pouty picture taken of yourself)
Unlike (to withdraw one’s approval of a web page or social media entry)
Vom (sick or vomit)