'Cryptocurrency' Officially Added to Oxford Dictionary Online

Pete Rizzo
May 20, 2014 at 16:55 UTC  |  Updated  May 20, 2014 at 17:25 UTC

Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) has officially added the word 'cryptocurrency' to its database. The decision was made as part of a quarterly update this May that also included the words 'bikeable', 'snacky' and 'time suck'.

The announcement follows the August 2013 update that saw 'bitcoin' added to the respected resource. At the time, the ODO told CoinDesk that bitcoin was added due to its significant presence online and in the mainstream media.

The ODO's addition of 'cryptocurrency' indicates that the organisation views it as a recent term that has emerged to become "significant or important", and that it believes the word could become more widely used.

The ODO defines cryptocurrency as:

"A digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank."

Usage examples

The ODO further provided example sentences that, in part, aim to sum up the values of those who are interested in the industry and community.

The first sample sentence reads:

"Decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin now provide an outlet for personal wealth that is beyond restriction and confiscation."

Additional sentences describe how cryptocurrencies are valued based on supply and demand, and highlight that the total value of the market is more than $8bn.

Contemporary language

While notable to the bitcoin community, the ODO is notably the organisation's online-only resource on contemporary English that includes modern meanings of many traditional words.

As noted by Angus Stevenson, Head of Dictionary Projects at Oxford University Press in a 2013 interview with CoinDesk, inclusion in the ODO "doesn't make any judgement on whether [the word] is good, bad, worthwhile or anything else".

By comparison, the Oxford English Dictionary is more of a historical cannon that includes words and definitions that have stood the test of time.

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