- Merriam-Webster added 455 new words to its dictionary.
- Merriam-Webster editors study the language and add new words to the dictionary every year based on their usage.
- The new additions are related to internet slang, the coronavirus pandemic, politics, and pop culture.
Words like air fryer, dad bod, deplatform, fluffernutter, and FTW were among additions to the dictionary, sparking a wider conversation on social media. Some of the words might be considered slang terms, or are heavily embedded into online culture, but according to Merriam-Webster, that is a large part of why they were included in the latest round-up.
Merriam-Webster, which started publishing reference books like dictionaries in 1831, adds new words based on their usage. To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language and monitor which words people use most often and exactly how they use them, according to Merriam-Webster. The last time the dictionary added new words was in January.
“The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms–in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage,” the dictionary’s website says. “Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use.”
Many words included in October’s additions are related to the way we speak online, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, politics, food, and pop culture.
“Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding,” Merriam-Webster explained in its article that included some noteworthy new words. “The quick and informal nature of messaging, texting, and tweeting has contributed to a vocabulary newly rich in efficient and abbreviated expression.”
Here are 11 of the oddest and most unique words that were added to the dictionary and their definitions, according to Merriam-Webster.
Falsely made to appear grassroots. This figurative use of astroturf (in capitalized form it is a trademark for artificial turf) is used to describe political efforts, campaigns, or organizations that appear to be funded and run by ordinary people but are in fact backed by powerful groups.
By reason of: because of — often used in a humorous way to convey vagueness about the exact reasons for something. This preposition use of because is versatile; it can be used, for example, to avoid delving into the overly technical (“the process works because science”) or to dismiss explanation altogether (“they left because reasons”).
Data (such as a block of text) that has been copied and spread widely online. Copypasta can be a lighthearted meme or it can have a more serious intent, with a political or cultural message.
informal: A physique regarded as typical of an average father; especially: one that is slightly overweight and not extremely muscular.
To remove and ban (a registered user) from a mass communication medium (such as a social networking or blogging website) broadly: to prevent from having or providing a platform to communicate.
A sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème between two slices of white sandwich bread.
An abbreviation for “for the win” —used especially to express approval or support. In social media, FTW is often used to acknowledge a clever or funny response to a question or meme.
A commercial cooking facility used for the preparation of food consumed off the premises — called also cloud kitchen, dark kitchen.
A condition that is marked by the presence of symptoms (such as fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, headache, or brain fog) which persist for an extended period of time (such as weeks or months) following a person’s initial recovery from COVID-19 infection.
A mixture of corn starch and water that behaves like a liquid when at rest and like a solid when pressure is applied. Oobleck gets its name from the title of a story by Dr. Seuss, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and is a favorite component in kids’ science experiments.
The act or practice of responding to an accusation of wrongdoing by claiming that an offense committed by another is similar or worse also: the response itself. The synonymous term whataboutery is more common in British English.