Ollie Wale: Does ‘Hibsed’ Merit a Place in the Oxford Dictionary?

Ollie Wale: Does ‘Hibsed’ Merit a Place in the Oxford Dictionary?

Awesomesauce. Bants. Hangry. These three words have two things in common. Firstly, they are irritating words which are used by irritating people. Secondly, they are recent additions to the online Oxford Dictionary.

If you aren’t wholly satisfied with the inclusion of these modern-day terms, an alternative word could soon be making its debut appearance within the dictionary’s pages. That particular word is ‘Hibsed’. Inspired by Hibernian FC, ‘Hibsed’ has quickly become a commonly used expression within the world of Scottish football.

You may not know what ‘Hibsed’ means, so I’ll show you an example paragraph which includes the word: ”I wrote a really excellent football-related article. It was insightful and rich in content. Just as I was about to publish it, I accidentally deleted the entire thing from my computer. I Hibsed it. So I decided to write this article instead.”

Alan Stubbs

A thoughtful Hearts supporter has now started an online petition to include the word in the Oxford Dictionary alongside its official definition: ‘To be ahead in your pursuit of something, only to mess it up before you cross the finish line’. At this moment in time, the petition has received the support of almost 4000 people.

But is it a justified decision to use Hibernian as the inspiration for such a demeaning word? Hibs manager Alan Stubbs doesn’t think so. In fact, he staunchly refuses to answer any questions in relation to the matter. A few journalists have backed his stance, stating that it’s an unfair and inaccurate term to use.

As far as I’m concerned, Stubbs is simply in a state of denial. I don’t blame him for this. As the manager of a football club, he doesn’t want his players to be distracted by negative press. In truth, however, Hibs have lurched from one glorious failure to another. They have continued to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Hearts supporters might argue that this unfortunate habit has plagued Hibs’ domestic efforts for a number of years, dating back (at the very least) to their 2012 Scottish Cup Final defeat, a humiliating 5-1 thumping at the hands of their Edinburgh rivals. In fact, Hibs haven’t won the Scottish Cup since 1902. This is quite a remarkable statistic for a club of their size.

One of the first major Hibsings of the current era took place in 2014, when Hamilton managed to overturn a two-goal deficit in the second leg of the Premiership play-offs at Easter Road. The Accies went on to win a penalty shoot-out, gaining promotion to the top league. Hibs were consigned to the unfortunate fate of relegation. Since then, Hibs have found it difficult in the notoriously cut-throat second tier. Last season, they fell to defeat in the promotion play-offs against Rangers. This season, they outlined their intentions to push the Ibrox side until the very end.

John McGinn and Jason Cummings

And they started well. It can’t be denied that Hibs, on paper, possess a wealth of quality options: on-loan Celtic players Liam Henderson and Anthony Stokes (the latter arrived at Easter Road in January), Dylan McGeouch, John McGinn and Jason Cummings, to name a few. Games aren’t won on paper, but they looked equally impressive on the pitch. On their day, they are capable of playing an attractive style of expansive football. This goes some way to explain their supporters’ current frustrations.

In reality, Hibs’ title challenge eventually fizzled out in a rather lame manner. Rangers raced towards the Championship title whilst Stubbs’ men faltered. A few months ago, a 2nd place finish (as a minimum) looked like a certainty. Then Hibs embarked upon a dismal run of form. They have become accustomed to the concession of late goals, turning near victories into draws or occasional defeats. In an all-important league encounter, Hibs held a 2-0 lead against a Falkirk side which had been reduced to ten men. With three minutes remaining, it was still 2-0. At full-time, it was 2-2. Falkirk had also taken full advantage of further slip-ups, ultimately finishing as runners-up. It was quite a turnaround.

Hibs have shown progress during impressive cup runs, defeating a number of Premiership sides on their way to the finals of the League Cup and the Scottish Cup. In the former, however, they fell at the final hurdle. Once again, they stumbled when it mattered most. Despite dominating possession, Hibs fell victim to another late goal. Alex Schalk’s last-gasp winner claimed a deserved 2-1 win and a first major trophy for Ross County.


Surely this season’s promotion play-offs could provide some much-needed joy? After a two-legged victory against Raith Rovers, Hibernian progressed to a semi-final showdown with Falkirk. With ten minutes remaining of the first leg, Hibs held a slender 2-1 lead. At full-time, it was 2-2.

But surely the second-leg could provide some much-needed joy? With eleven minutes remaining, Hibs held a slender 2-1 lead. At full-time, it was 3-2 to Falkirk.

Yes, Hibs had collapsed at the very end. Again. Sadly, it has become a highly predictable scenario. In fact, I placed a considerable amount of money (£1) on a Falkirk victory as soon as Hibs took the lead. I wouldn’t have risked such a high amount of cash if I hadn’t been absolutely certain that the Bairns would turn things around.

So, I return to my original query. Is it a justified decision to use Hibernian as the inspiration for a demeaning word like ‘Hibsed’? Apologies to Hibs supporters.. but yes, it probably is. Nonetheless, that isn’t necessarily a certainty. One ray of light is yet to be dimmed. Next Saturday, all eyes will be on Hampden Park for the Scottish Cup Final between Hibs and Rangers. Stubbs and his team have another shot at redemption. If they crumble under the pressure, I expect to find ‘Hibsed’ in the Oxford Dictionary before the end of next week.

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