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- The dictionary is a living document that changes as our language does.
- Every year, new words are created and added to the dictionary, and other words take on new meanings over time.
- Merriam-Webster added 850 words and definitions to the dictionary in March 2018.
- Here are 10 words you didn’t know were part of the dictionary.
As the executive editor at Avenue, a luxury lifestyle magazine based in New York City, I’ve experienced the evolution of the English language firsthand. New technology and social trends demand the invention of new words to describe them. When a word becomes decisively engrained in the spoken language, Merriam-Webster steps in and adds it to the dictionary.
Back in March, the dictionary added850 new words and definitionsto Merriam-Webster.com. Some, like “cryptocurrency,” are completely new words. Others, like “glamping,” are two words blended together. And still others, like “unicorn,” are words that have long been in the dictionary, but have recently taken on new meanings.
When they announced the new additions, Merriam-Webster outlined the protocol for inclusion: “If you’re likely to encounter a word in the wild, whether in the news, a restaurant menu, a tech update, or a Twitter meme, that word belongs in the dictionary.”
Below, here are 10 words and definitions that you didn’t realize were a part of the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
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As people breed different types of dogs, new blended words emerge.
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Cryptocurrency isn’t just for finance experts or technophiles to understand. With its inclusion in the dictionary, now everyone can be one step closer to grasping how this currency may affect our future.
Cryptocurrency: “Any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptographyto prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions.”
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Though some may think that dark chocolate is self explanatory, Merriam-Webster opted to put in the dictionary for universal clarity – notably, it’s the ingredients, and not just the color, that allow a chocolate to be referred to as dark.
Dark chocolate: “Chocolate that is dark in color and contains a high percentage of cocoa and cocoa butter, usually no milk, and varying amounts of sugar.”
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The blended word is a combination of “glamour” and “camping” and describes an activity favored by the Instagram-famous set.
Glamping: “Outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping.”
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To “hack”something is to get illegal access to it. “Hacking your life” is employing tricks that help you work smarter.
Life Hack: “A usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently.”
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Many women are familiar with “mansplaining.” If men aren’t, they now have easy access to its precise meaning in Merriam-Webster.
Mansplain: “To explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.”
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Whether it’s going for a run, taking a bubble bath, or calling out of work for a mental health day, self-care now also has an official dictionary definition.
Unicorn has always been in the dictionary, but a new definition was added this year. It has nothing to do with those ubiquitous summer pool floats.
Unicorn:“Business: a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more.”
Often accompanied by a shoulder shrug and raised eyebrows, people have been saying “welp” for ages. And now, it has its rightful place in the dictionary.
Welp: “Used informally like well (as to introduce a remark expressing resignation or disappointment).”
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Adding “ie” to the end of a word indicates that you’re a fan or something. A foodie is someone who loves food, and a wordie is someone who loves words.
Wordie: “A lover of words, logophile.”