Over 100 Super Nerdy Film Terms Were Just Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

David Lynch, right, on the set of Twin Peaks, has made his way into the dictionary.
David Lynch, right, on the set of Twin Peaks, has made his way into the dictionary.
Photo: Showtime

Have you ever used a word like “Kubrickian” to describe something and felt a little strange? Referred to a movie as “torture porn” and been given a dirty look? Well, fear not, because those and over 100 other film-related words or phrases have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

“The phrase ‘the language of cinema’ typically refers to visual literacy; how cuts, close-ups, and camera movement are used as a form of communication. But film has its own vocabulary too, an ever-expanding lexicon, added to whenever new technology, techniques, pictures, or people make an impact on the English language,” Craig Leyland, senior editor of the new words team at the OED said in a press release. “With this in mind we examined online databases and specialist film resources to identify over 100 new words, phrases, and senses from the world of cinema for inclusion in the OED.”

“From unique directors (e.g. Lynchian, Capraesque) through international scares (giallo, kaiju) to magical movie tricks (Foley, glass shot), like the best Spielbergian fare, there’s something to please everyone. (Yes, we added Spielbergian),” he concluded.


You can read more about how these selections were made at this link. But, below, is the full list.

  • Academy ratio n.
  • action comedy n.
  • AD n.
  • aerial shot n.
  • AFI n.
  • Altmanesque adj.
  • anthology n.
  • arc shot n.
  • BBFC n.
  • Bergmanesque adj.
  • BFI n.
  • blink and you’ll miss it phr.
  • blooper reel n.
  • Bressonian adj.
  • bridging shot n.
  • Bunuelian adj.
  • Capraesque adj.
  • chanchada n.
  • cineliteracy n.
  • cineliterate adj.
  • Cinema Novo n.
  • cinematography n.
  • clapboard n.2
  • craft service n.
  • crawl n.1
  • cut n.2
  • diegetic adj.
  • straight (also direct) to DVD phr.
  • director of photography n.
  • director’s chair n.
  • DoP n.
  • DP n.
  • Dutch angle n.
  • edge-of-your-seat phr.
  • Eisensteinian adj.
  • end credits n.
  • flashforward adj. and n.
  • Foley n.
  • Fordian adj.
  • front projection n.
  • gag reel n.
  • giallo n.
  • glass shot n.
  • Godardian adj.
  • gorefest n.
  • gorehound n.
  • Groundhog Day n.
  • Hammer n.4
  • hanging miniature n.
  • hard R adj. (and n.)
  • Hawksian adj.
  • Hays n.
  • Herzogian adj.
  • horror n.
  • idiocracy n.2
  • in-camera adv.2
  • Indiana Jones n.
  • J-horror n.
  • jump scare n.
  • kaiju n.
  • kaiju eiga n.
  • Keatonesque adj.
  • Kubrickian adj.
  • Langian adj.
  • Lynchian adj.
  • match cut n.
  • microbudget n. and adj.
  • mise-en-scène n.
  • Mrs. Robinson n.
  • mumblecore n.
  • no-budget adj.
  • Nollywood n.
  • non-diegetic adj.
  • not in Kansas anymore phr.
  • omnibus adj.
  • one-sheet n.
  • Oscar bait n.
  • peplum n.
  • portmanteau n.
  • post n.13
  • post-credit adj.
  • principal photography n.
  • production code n.
  • schlock horror n.
  • Scorsesean adj.
  • scream queen n.
  • second unit n.
  • sex comedy n.
  • shaky cam n.
  • shaky camera n.
  • short film n.
  • short subject n.
  • Sirkian adj.
  • spec adj.
  • Spielbergian adj.
  • stock footage n.
  • stoner n.1
  • sword-and-sandal n.
  • table read n.
  • Tarantinoesque adj.
  • Tarkovskian adj.
  • tentpole adj. and n.
  • three-shot n.
  • tilt shot n.
  • torture porn n.
  • travelling shot n.
  • triple-X adj.
  • (up) to eleven phr.
  • VFX n.
  • visual effect n.
  • voice acting n.
  • voice actor n.
  • voice actress n.
  • walla int. and n.
  • Wellesian adj.
  • XXX adj.

We could go on and on about these, but I think the most interesting ones are the really specific references. Like “(up) to eleven” from This is Spinal Tap, “Mrs. Robinson” from The Graduate, “not in Kansas anymore” from The Wizard of Oz, and simply “Indiana Jones.” By singling them out, the OED has kind of put those phrases above all others as the pinnacle of pop culture references. The dictionary’s editors are declaring that whether or not a person has seen those movies, almost anyone who hears those phrases and words knows what they mean—and they’re right.

What are you surprised to see on the list? What do you think is still missing?

[Oxford English Dictionary]


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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Keatonesque adj.