Merriam-Webster new words

Where my language lovers at? Online dictionary Merriam-Webster announced on February 7, 2017 that it added more than 1000 new words to its catalog! Some of the new additions have been around for decades. Others are the result of newer technologies. And some of the new words come from pop culture, science, medicine, and sports and saw a spike in recent use. Isn’t the breadth of the English language amazing? Who else is excited that these turns of phrase have been immortalized?

Here are my favorite new words:

  1. ‘First world problems’ – Merriam-Webster defines “first world problem” as “a usually minor or trivial problem or annoyance experienced by people in relatively affluent or privileged circumstances especially as contrasted with problems of greater social significance facing people in poor and underdeveloped parts of the world.” You know, when you complain about the hot water running out because you took such a long shower. Or that you had too much to eat and are now tired…
  2. ‘Woo-woo’ – My mom’s been using this one for years and I am so glad it now gets an official definition: “dubiously or outlandishly mystical, supernatural, or unscientific.”
  3. ‘Humblebrag’ – Ah, the humblebrag. You’ve surely seen this in the form of a social media status update where the person makes self-deprecating statement with the actual purpose of drawing attention to some impressive quality or achievement. Like this cringe-worthy example of false modesty: 
  4. Ghost‘ can now be used as an informal verb. It’s what you do when you cut off all contact with someone with no explanation. Your date won’t know what hit ’em!
  5. Binge-watch‘ – Your binge-watching practices now have legitimacy! Netflix will be so pleased.
  6. Net neutrality‘ – The discussion surrounding the idea that Internet providers should treat all Internet data as the same has been around for several years; now the term is in our dictionary. Hurray!
  7. ‘EVOO’ – I have to admit that I only figured out what EVOO stands for a few months ago. Any guesses? You might see it on a menu. … extra virgin olive oil. Duh. *face-palm* (which, coincidentally, is also a new word)
  8. Macaron’ – I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t it spelled macaroon?” Nope, as it turns out the Parisian macaron are those meringue cookies surrounding a creamy, sweet filling. A macaroon, my dear friends, is some sweet treat involving shredded coconut. Don’t confuse them. 

Merriam-Webster on how a few of the new words came about:

“…new tech terms are more about what we do with technology—how it is managed, deployed, and organized—than giving a name to the technology itself; hence terms such as net neutrality, abandonware, and botnet. Our devices, apps, and programs allow us to binge-watch, photobomb, and ghost someone. Things we read online might be NSFW listicles; things we post online might be humblebrags. Some of these terms came into use in the past decade, and none are more than twenty years old.”

Other new dictionary words include ‘microaggression,’ ‘snollygoster,’ ‘throw shade,’ ‘conlang,’ ‘Seussian,’ and ‘fast fashion.’ For a more complete list, visit merriam-webster.com. Join me in using a new word every day!

(In other word news, the 2016 Word of the Year is officially “surreal.”)

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