The Word 'Jedi' Is Now Officially Recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary

A long list of new words has been added to the Oxford Dictionary this month.
Chris Young

While some angry fans have boycotted the new Star Wars movies, others are eagerly anticipating the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

Either way, moviegoers will no doubt go to the cinema in droves this December hoping to find answers to several dangling threads: namely, what does being a Jedi mean, and is Rey really the last of them?

How interesting then that, just as fans of the series are grappling with the true meaning of Jediism, the Oxford Dictionary has decided to officially canonize the word as part of the English language.  


A changing lexicon

It is well known that Shakespeare has had a great influence on the English language. For example, commonly used verb forms "to eyeball," "to elbow," and "to mimic," are all attributed to Shakespeare's plays.

But did you know the Simpsons, and other more recent popular cultural institutions, have also had an influence on the English language?

The English language is constantly evolving. Words fall in and out of common usage, and popular culture, understandably, has a great effect on this.

Jedi canonized in the OED

Most recently, the word 'Jedi' from the Star Wars series has been added into the English language by the Oxford English Dictionary.

And that's not the only Star Wars word to make the cut: "Padawan" and "Lightsaber" have also been added.

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Other surprising additions — for different reasons — are the words "whatevs," "nomophobia," and "cocktease." The full, extensive list can be seen on the Oxford English Dictionary website.

Fans of all things Star Wars coming to real-life might also like this explanation by Professor Brian Cox on why he thinks lightsabers are in fact possible.

Cox argues that photons can be shown to collide off each other, meaning that, in principle at least, lightsabers could work.

How the light would stop at a specific distance from the sword's hilt is an "engineering" problem, he says.

Maybe the iconic Star Wars swords were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in anticipation of the real thing.

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