- Flickr/Yoel Ben-Avraham
Merriam-Webster added more than 250 new words to its online dictionary on Monday, and “alt-right,” “froyo,” and “ransomware” all made the cut.
The newly added words come from a variety of fields, from politics and business to technology and sports.
“Alt-right” has been in use since 2009, Merriam-Webster noted, and thanks to its rise to prominence during the 2016 election, the term has finally warranted entry in the dictionary.
The term is defined as “a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the US whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism.”
Another newly added political term, “dog whistle,” is “an expression or statement that has a secondary meaning intended to be understood only by a particular group of people.”
“Our job as lexicographers is to follow the development of language, defining the words people are likely to encounter,” Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster said in a press release. “These new words have been added to the dictionary because they have established themselves in the English language, and are part of the current, active vocabulary of America.”
A host of Internet-inspired words can also call Merriam-Webster their new home. The “Internet of Things,” for example, allows us to connect household objects like kitchen appliances and thermostats to the internet. You can log onto Twitter to see what the “hive mind” thinks – that’s “the collective thoughts, ideas, or opinions of a group of people” – especially internet users, who are often seen as functioning together as a single mind.
And the dictionary finally recognized another meaning for the long-used word “troll” – not the cave-dwelling creature in Scandinavian folklore, but the type of internet user who deliberately antagonizes others by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive content.
Here are some of the other new words Merriam-Webster added:
bibimbap – a Korean dish of rice with cooked vegetables, usually meat, and often a raw or fried egg
front – to assume a fake or false personality to conceal one’s true identity and character
froyo – frozen yogurt
pregame – to begin drinking alcohol before an event or activity (such as a party or a night out)
ransomware – malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files
schneid – a losing streak (as in sports)
showrunner – a person who oversees the writing and production of each episode of a television series and has ultimate managerial and creative control over the series
sriracha – a pungent sauce that is made from hot peppers pureed with usually garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar and that is typically used as a condiment
word salad – a string of empty, incoherent, unintelligible, or nonsensical words or comments
working memory – memory that involves storing, focusing attention on, and manipulating information for a relatively short period of time (such as a few seconds)