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You Best Start Believin’ in ‘Porch Pirates’—They’re in the Dictionary Now

Written by Sarah HoltzPublished Jan. 24, 2023 • 12:30pm
Amazon delivery package seen in front of a door | Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

English

Students around the world now have more opportunities than ever to begin their essays with “The Oxford English Dictionary defines [fill in the blank] as…” The dictionary of record added “porch pirate,” along with over 700 new words, to its list of definitions last month, codifying slang terms that have entered the zeitgeist over the past few years. 

Forgive us the cliché, but the OED defines “porch pirate” as “A person who steals parcels that have been delivered and left unattended.” Previously, the far less official website Urban Dictionary used the alliterative expression in a sentence this way: “Man, I just got my shit stolen from a porch pirate.”

According to an annual package theft report published by SafeWise, three out of four Americans have experienced porch piracy. Package theft has increased by 23% in the US over the past year. 

In December, ABC7 News reported on a Silicon Valley engineer and former NASA employee who devised a scheme to get revenge on porch pirates and car break-in “smash and grabbers” by glitter-bombing them. 

The other OED additions include “Captain Obvious,” “fintech,” “pinkie promise,” “escape room” and  “textspeak.” The dictionary also updated definitions for over 800 existing entries. 

The OED issues quarterly updates. The next round of additions will be out in March 2023. We’ll see if “nepo baby” or “situationship” make the list.

English

Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]


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