'Satoshi' Enters the Oxford English Dictionary

Satoshi, noun, “The smallest monetary unit in the bitcoin digital payment system, equal to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin," enters the OED.

Oct 15, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:34 a.m. UTC

The Oxford English Dictionary, published by the Oxford University Press, has added "satoshi" to its compendium of the English language.

First used less than seven years ago, satoshi is the newest word added to the dictionary. The addition was made as part of a quarterly update to the respected source’s database that also includes the words "Manhattanhenge," "whatevs" and a revised history of "fake news."

According to the now official OED definition, a satoshi is “the smallest monetary unit in the bitcoin digital payment system, equal to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin,” or 0.00000001 BTC.

OED lexicographers take a descriptive approach to language, meaning that the dictionary observes how words emerge, grow or diminish in popularity and change definitions over time.

The OED's policy says:

“Our role is to monitor and record emerging vocabulary so that we can make new terms available to our dictionary users as soon as they start to gain traction.”

Cited uses of the noun come from Ripple Project, a Usenet newsgroup in 2012, from the Guardian in 2013 and the Times in 2017.

The OED notes American and British pronunciations differ. Stateside, the "o" in Satoshi is pronounced like the "ʊ" sound in foot, whereas across the pond the "o" sounds like the "ɒ" in "lot."

The word is derived from the proper noun, Satoshi Nakamoto, the “probably pseudonymous” creator or creators of bitcoin. In this context, Nakamoto is an etymon, or a word from which a later word is derived.

Curiously, the authorities on grammar state Nakamoto was “reportedly born in 1975,” referring to one of the only bread crumbs left behind by the mysterious founder when asked to give a birth date on a website where he first described the plan for bitcoin.

Dictionary image via Pixeljoy/Shutterstock

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
Sequoia's Guide to Surviving the 2022 Bear Market

Venture capitalists have gotten increasingly frantic over the last few months.

Venture capitalists have gotten increasingly frantic over the last few months.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
NFT Art Museums Are a Good Idea

The metaverse turns galleries global, and helps fund the arts. This article is part of “Metaverse Week."

The metaverse turns galleries global, and helps fund the arts. This article is part of “Metaverse Week."

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
How the US Can Establish Itself as a Crypto Leader

Regulators have an opportunity to map out thoughtful, strategic policy on stablecoins and beyond.

Regulators have an opportunity to map out thoughtful, strategic policy on stablecoins and beyond.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
No, the UK Is Not Going to Make USDC and USDT Legal Tender

For “legalize” read “regulate.”

For “legalize” read “regulate.”

CoinDesk - Unknown