Quidditch: A new wor(l)d order: Lowercase Q Quidditch Added to Oxford Dictionary

Although Quidditch entered the popular lexicon nearly 20 years ago with the publication of the first Harry Potter novel, and quidditch may have been first been played in the real world more than 10 years ago at Middlebury College, today, it is finally an officially recognized word.

Periodically Oxford Dictionaries, who also publish the Oxford English Dictionary, add new words to their digital tomes. Today, the Oxford University Press announced that quidditch would be added to its dictionary, alongside words like latte art, (“Pictures or patterns made by skilfully pouring steamed milk on to the surface of a latte or similar coffee drink”); rabona, (“An action in which a player strikes the ball with their kicking leg crossed behind the other leg, typically so as to be able to play the ball instantly with their stronger foot or to deceive an opposing player,”) showmance (“A romantic relationship between two members of the cast of a television series, film, or play, especially one contrived for the sake of publicity”) and more.

Recently, there have been discussions on what uniquely makes our sport quidditch. According to the Oxford University Press, “quidditch” is a noun or mass noun meaning “A team sport played while straddling broomsticks, in which goals are scored by throwing a ball through any of three hoops fixed at either end of the pitch.” It can also be used as a modifier, such as: “the university quidditch team plays in multiple tournaments each semester.”

The origin of the word is described as “Early 21st century: from the name of a magical game described in J. K. Rowling’s 1997 novel “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, on which the sport is based.”

One thing to note – apparently snitches are not needed to play quidditch.

Update: 4/12/2017

In an emailed statement Oxford Dictionaries explained, “Our dictionaries aim to describe how language is used, rather than prescribe how it should be used! We use various methods to track and monitor real language use both online and in print, so once there is sufficient evidence that a word is being used by a wide range of sources, it’ll be on our radar.”

The statement continued, “Quidditch has been played for a fair while now as a sport, so it seems about time for it to be given recognition as a word in its own right and not just a term from fiction.”

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