Merriam-Webster recently announced its addition of new words going into the dictionary and they’re an interesting bunch.
Several of the most prominent new words originate in the digital world, with things like binge-watch, photobomb and NSFW, which is the acronym for “not safe for work,” being added. Binge-watch is fairly self explanatory, especially in the age of Netflix, but I was surprised by the addition of photobomb, as the act of jumping into other people’s photos has been around for a number of years.
Two other notable additions were ghosting and shade, both of which are rather youthful slang terms. Ghosting refers to when one member of a relationship decides to slowly remove himself from said relationship and instead of making a clean break, just stops returning calls and text messages. Shade, of course, already has a meaning, so the addition refers to a new definition for the word. Shade now also officially refers to when someone is talking about another person in a negative way.
A representative from the dictionary said several of the words were from the world of social media, which means future additions to the dictionary will probably be more acronyms and colorful phrases that take on an online life of their own.
While many of the new words that gain the most attention are silly or amusing, there are also several that I’m sure will show up in the Scripps National Spelling Bee soon — such as “prosopagnosia,” which is defined as “the inability to recognize faces.”
Personally, the word I was most flummoxed by was “conlang,” which refers to made-up languages, like those in “Game of Thrones” or “Star Trek.” I don’t understand why we need a word for those as I’ve always thought “made-up languages” described them fine.
A couple other fun words I saw were Seussian, for things that are similar to Dr. Seuss stories, and snollygoster, which is “a shrewd, unprincipled person.” The latter word was actually dropped from the dictionary 14 years ago, but was added back because enough people started using it again. That makes me want to find an old word that’s fallen out of favor and see whether I can start a campaign to bring it back.
Happy birthday Thursday to Carolyn Dexheimer of Bells.
Happy anniversary Thursday to Albert and Karen Ellis of Luella, 26 years.