Author Topic: Oxford English Dictionary officially adds "bling-bling" to its entries  (Read 118 times)


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It's all about the bling-bling

Virginia Rohan
The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
Apr. 26, 2003 12:00 AM

Elizabeth Taylor dripped it, and Liberace flaunted it. Carmela Soprano's a walking advertisement, and P. Diddy's real-life poster boy.
This year's Oscars consciously toned it down, while the "Ab Fab" girls giddily talked it up.

Now the Oxford English Dictionary is about to officially induct it into the lexicon.

"Bling-bling" - America's latest verbal fling.

Unless you've been vacationing in Tibet, you've probably heard it a lot lately. The hip-hop expression bling-bling, or sometimes just bling, has been popping up everywhere - television, radio, and newspapers - spoken and written by folks who are several steps removed from pop culture's cutting edge.

Coined in 1999 in a same-named song by a New Orleans rapper named B.G., bling-bling applies to big showy jewelry - the kind typified by razzle-dazzle designer Chris Aire that gets Lil' Kim's heart racing, sets off alarms at airports, and goes bling when it collides with other bling (hence the name).

"Bling-bling really became popular with me when Shaq and the Lakers were using the term for their championship rings" in 2001, says Californian Jeffrey "Halfshaq" Marino, who sells lots of bling online at - one of several Web sites that revel in metallic excess. (Another,, for example, sells custom-made teeth in yellow gold, white gold, and platinum.)

If the sports world was quick to embrace the word, all of television is on a bling bender. CNN Headline News has been using "bling-bling" and other hip-hop terms in its headlines and graphics as part of what the network's general manager has called an aggressive attempt to stay "relevant, smarter and cooler" to a younger audience.

The cooler-than-thou term has clearly exploded into the unhip mainstream - which is why it's headed for the dictionary.

"We're going to draft an entry, which we'll probably publish soon," says Jesse Sheidlower, principal editor of the OED's North American Editorial Unit, who says it will be added online (as all new entries are) and will probably include several senses of bling-bling as a verb, noun, and adjective. "We decide based on currency. In a case like bling-bling, it's very widespread."

Over several years, its meaning has broadened.

"On a more accurate level, it's diamond jewelry - white diamonds - but in a broader way it could be your Lincoln Navigator," says jewelry designer Robert Verdi, a correspondent for "Full Frontal Fashion," which airs nationally on WE: Women's Entertainment. "I myself aspire to bling-bling."

Celebrity fashion stylist Alexander Allen, who dresses hip-hop stars Monica and Eve, says the term that used to mean shiny doesn't necessarily reflect a sheen anymore. "It must be over the top for it to be bling-bling," Allen says. "It's a hip-hop term that's been around for a long time, but it's crossed over."

MTV fans are probably shaking their hip heads in disbelief that their elders think bling's the new in-thing. After all, they've been the young ones have been hearing it on the cable network since 1999, when B.G. came out with "Bling Bling" on his "Chopper City in the Ghetto" album. The chorus: "Every time I come around yo city bling bling/Pinky ring worth about 50 bling bling/Every time I buy a new ride bling bling/Lorinsers on Yokohama tires bling bling."

Other hip-hop artists jumped on the bling wagon.

"It's been in so many songs," says Tuma Basa, a manager of music programming for MTV/MTV2 who believes the term was an easy fit for the late Nineties, when the economy was booming. "Every rapper was talking about materialistic pursuits. Every hip-hop video had expensive cars with nice rims.

"At first I think B.G. was just talking about his jewelry, but now bling-bling is anything fancy and expensive, brand new," Basa says. "It describes a part of hip-hop culture that does value nice jewelry, and looking good and fresh, and wearing icy-white T-shirts. It's almost a symbol of prosperity."

That bling-bling invaded Middle America does not surprise Allen.

"Hip-hop has become mainstream now," he says. "Before it was just like a new form of music that was very underground, but now hip-hop is really, really popular. You have Nelly. You have Eminem. You have Eve. All these people have crossed over from hip-hop to mainstream, so it's only a matter of time before everything else from that world crosses over, too."

Verdi gives the most credit to P. Diddy and Russell Simmons, for exposing "bling bling as a lifestyle," and says that in fashion circles, the term's been used colloquially for a couple of years, regarding things that are "sparkly, sequined, and refract light."

As he sees it, it was inevitable that bling bling would trickle down to the masses. Says Verdi: "It's almost like fashion itself. You see something on the runways, then two years later it's in Sears and J.C. Penney."

Of course, once something makes it to the mainstream it usually means it's already lost its edginess. Bling-bling is no exception.

"I don't think people use it as much from the hip-hop culture," Allen says. "That term is pretty dated. If someone's using it, you know it's new to their vocabulary. You want to say, 'Welcome to the word.' "

MTV's Basa says that in the music world, it's "still fashionable. but not as big." Noting that he has heard the term on ESPN as well as CNN Headline News, he says, "Honestly, I think it's actually the mainstream that keeps that word alive."

"It is definitely old hat to me, though it's certainly still in use," he says, adding, with a chuckle, that he's and says he's been working on a past tense for the verb: "I'm so bling-blinged, I'm blung."

Wow, I'm speechless!



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LMFAO! U have to be kidding me...


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a good idea, imo. it's all about BEV...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2003, 02:47:34 PM by Agua »


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It's true...they added it to the dictionary.


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how funny..... yet dumb

kick ass album