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Dictionaries find the mot juste to add to language

Online search engines are being used more often, but France’s leading dictionaries still give a snapshot of the current state of the language.

Both Le Petit Larousse (€29.90) and Le Petit Robert Illustré (€32.90) have lists of new words.

The VW scandal has inspired dédiésélisation for the switch from polluting fuels, the aftermath of the Syrian war and rising internet attacks bring fears of cyberdjihadisme, while new business methods have given ubériser and coworking.

As in coworking, English words may be used as they are more concise than French, but “spoiler” has now become the unwieldy divulgâcher (from divulge and gâcher to spoil).

New lifestyles give new words, with Ramen noodles, boboïser to gentrify an area, locavorisme for eating local food, and mono­roue for one-wheeled scooters.

And, as 60 is the new 40, adulescence is for those séniors who behave like adolescents.

Although sales are slowing, dictionaries still sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year, with Petit Larousse number one.

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