As language evolves, so does the dictionary. Merriam-Webster has added 455 new words and definitions to its dictionary this year and some are surprising slang terms, while others are words that seem like they should've been added long ago.
The dictionary categorized the new additions into several groups based on their source, including words from online culture and communication, coronavirus words and words from tech and science.
In the first category, internet slang words – including abbreviations like "TBH" (to be honest) and "FTW" (for the win) – were added.
Also added: "Amirite" a slang term used in writing for the rhetorical "am I right," which Merriam-Webster defines as a way "to represent or imitate the use of this phrase as a tag question in informal speech."
The word "because" got a tweak to include a new meaning in its definition. Merriam-Webster says it is "often used in a humorous way to convey vagueness about the exact reasons for something." This use of the word avoids delving into the overly technical. For example: "The process works because science" or "they left because reasons."
The words in the coronavirus category include "super-spreader" (a person who is highly contagious or an event or location at which a significant number of people contract the same communicable disease) and "vaccine passport" (a physical or digital document providing proof of vaccination against one or more infectious diseases).
Other internet slang terms were added. "Copypasta," which is often used in lighthearted memes, means data, such as text, that has been copied and spread widely online. It can also be used with more serious intent, says Merriam-Webster.
"Copypasta has been a major feature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the misinformation associated with it, often claiming to provide anonymously sourced 'insider' information on how to treat, cure, or avoid the disease that is often incorrect and dangerous," writes Alex Kasprak for Snopes, which Merriam-Webster used as an example for the definition.
From politics, "vote-a-rama" was added. In the U.S. government, the term means "an unusually large number of debates and votes that happen in one day on a single piece of legislation to which an unlimited number of amendments can be introduced, debated, and voted on," per the dictionary.
Several food-related words were also added – including the iconic lunchroom sandwich, "fluffernutter," which is made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème.
"Chicharron," or "a small piece of pork belly or pig skin that is fried and eaten usually as a snack," was also added. As was the newly popularized "," which is "an airtight, usually small electrical appliance for quick cooking of foods by means of convection currents circulated rapidly by a fan."
There are hundreds of other new words, but pop culture terms like "faux-hawk" and "dad bod" stand out. One is a "hairstyle resembling a Mohawk," the other is "a physique regarded as typical of an average father; especially : one that is slightly overweight and not extremely muscular." Combined, you have a pretty rad middle-aged man.
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