Did You Know: The Phrase "Add Oil" Has Been In The Oxford English Dictionary Since 2016?

Here we were all using it ironically.

People in parts of Southeast Asia have been getting excited over the inclusion of the Chinglish phrase "add oil" in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

A direct translation of the Cantonese "ga yao" or "jiayou" in Mandarin, "add oil" is supposedly a metaphor for injecting fuel into a tank. Alternatively, it could mean stepping on an accelerator to propel a vehicle forward, according to South China Morning Post.

A screenshot of the entry, provided by the author.

Image via Apple Daily

The discovery was supposedly made by Hugo Tseng, who is an associate professor with Soochow University, Taiwan. He revealed the finding in a column with Hong Kong's Apple Daily on Sunday, 14 October.

However, the phrase has been in the OED since March 2016!

That little bit was pointed out by OED head of US dictionaries Katherine Connor Martin on Twitter.

Although the actual entry cannot be verified, the phrase comes up on OED's "Appeals" section where they appeal to the public for assistance in getting evidence of a word's existence.

The entry, dated 17 May 2016, asked for "definitive evidence" of the word prior to 2005.

The post also indicates that "a 1964 antedating supplied by Bryn has been verified" - though it is unclear who Bryn is.

With that, here's to more localised phrases getting their rightful spots in any and every dictionary

In a post marking its 90th anniversary, OED World English Editor Danica Salazar said:

"[OED's Third Edition] acknowledges that with the current status of English as a world language, no longer is British English to be regarded as the dominant form of English – it is only one of the many individual varieties of the language that share a common lexical core but develop their own unique vocabularies."

In the same entry, Salazar lists a number of words that have already been accepted into the dictionary: kebaya, gamelan, nasi goreng, Singapore's HDB, "sabo", and foods we all know like "char siu", "yum cha", and even "chilli crab".

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