Dictionary.com announces the latest additions to its dictionary. With over 150 new words and definitions added, and over 1,000 revisions, this update continues to show how social media and digital culture, in particular, affect our communication and ever-evolving language.
Some of the new words added in the latest update first gained currency on social media platforms. One example of this is fleek, which was popularized in mid-2014 by a six-second video on Vine. The virality of this slang term, often found in the phrase on fleek, contributed to a massive increase in interest among Dictionary.com users over the last year. Dictionary.com lexicographers have access to billions of data points in search lookups, which they analyze to better understand interest and demand, accelerating discovery of the English language as it happens. Users will now be able to look up fleek, defined as “flawlessly styled, groomed, etc.”
“With over 5.5 billion words looked up annually, we can learn a lot from our users. They play a vital role in helping us determine what words to add in each update,” said Liz McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com.
The impact of social networks on communication IRL (in real life) can also be seen in the addition of terms such as yaaas, feels, facepalm, TBH, and doge, the Internet meme typified by an image of a Shiba Inu accompanied by very short phrases that humorously represent the dog’s imagined thoughts.
Advances in technology often lead to new words and phrases that are quickly adopted by consumers. The term Internet of Things (IoT) gets a definition in this update, and new entries were also added for Creative Commons, digital citizen, digital wallet, and fitness tracker. Following the addition of esports from the site’s previous update in May, new definitions for the words tabletop, nerf, and respawn have all been added so gamers and non-gamers alike can level up their language.
Also on the heels of a number of gender-related terms added in May, this update includes Mx., a gender-neutral title of respect that can be prefixed to a person’s surname in place of Ms., Mr., or Mrs.
While some words on the list, including asterisk and random, may not seem new, the update includes new definitions for these entries based on current usage. For instance, it’s generally known that the word asterisk refers to a small, starlike symbol, but its latest definition offers another use: “any factor or element that makes an otherwise outstanding achievement somewhat doubtful or less impressive.” Likewise, random was updated to reflect the slang noun definition commonly used in reference to a person or thing that is unknown, unidentified or suspiciously out of place, as in “a few randoms showed up to the party.”
Several other words also make their Dictionary.com debut, including sapiosexual, EGOT, and KenKen. Also included in this update are the fashion terms matchy-matchy, which is often used to describe clothes that go together a little too much, and shootie, a woman’s shoe that reaches, covers, or extends just above the ankle.
Dictionary.com uses a number of tools to determine which words are widely used and should be added to the dictionary. Lexicographers review and discover new words in mainstream media, academic journals, pop culture sources, and user suggestions, while vetting new candidates in a corpus of contemporary language use that contains more than 19 billion words.
A selection of the recently added words with brief definitions can be found below. Full dictionary entries for the new words can be found on Dictionary.com.
asterisk: any factor or element that makes an otherwise outstanding achievement somewhat doubtful or less impressive.
bestie: Informal. a person’s best friend.
Creative Commons: a set of various licenses that allow people to share their copyrighted work to be copied, edited, built upon, etc., while retaining the copyright to the original work.
digital citizen: a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the Internet and other digital technology, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and civic activities.
digital wallet: an electronic device, website, software system, or database that facilitates commercial transactions by storing a consumer’s credit card, shipping address, and other payment data.
doge: an Internet fad or meme typified by an image of a dog of the Shiba Inu breed accompanied by very short phrases that humorously represent the dog’s imagined thoughts and use the wrong modifiers or shortened word forms, as “such dignified” or “amaze.”
drunk text: to send a text message to someone while intoxicated.
EGOT: the honor of winning at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony in competitive rather than honorary categories.
facepalm: the gesture of placing the palm of one’s hand across the face, as to express embarrassment, frustration, disbelief, etc. (often used as an interjection).
feels: Informal. strong, often positive feelings.
fitness tracker: a wearable electronic device or a software application that monitors one’s physical fitness and daily physical activity.
fleek: Slang. flawlessly styled, groomed, etc.
Franken-: Slang. a combining form used before something that is a hybrid of disparate parts, and meaning “strange or frightening.”
Internet of Things (IoT): a network of everyday devices, appliances, and other objects equipped with computer chips and sensors that can collect and transmit data through the Internet.
IRL: in real life (in contrast with communication and interaction online or in a fictional situation).
KenKen: Trademark. a brand name for a numerical logic puzzle printed on a grid subdivided into clusters of squares, or cages, the object of which is to fill in the squares so that each column and row do not repeat digits, and all the numbers within a cage combine together using the specified arithmetic operation to equal a target number.
kk: Informal. (used in text messages and other digital communications) okay; OK.
matchy-matchy: Informal. (of an outfit, decor, etc.) having colors or patterns that match or harmonize too closely.
Mx.: a title of respect prefixed to a person’s surname: unlike Mr., Mrs., or Ms., it does not indicate gender and may be used by a person with any or no specific gender identity.
nerf: Slang. (in a video game) to reconfigure (an existing character or weapon), making it less powerful.
neurodiversity: the variation and differences in neurological structure and function that exist among human beings, especially when viewed as being normal and natural rather than pathological.
random: Slang. a person or thing that is unknown, unidentified, or suspiciously out of place.
respawn: (of a character or item in a video game) to reenter an existing game environment at a fixed point after having been defeated or otherwise removed from play.
sapiosexual: a person who finds intelligence to be a sexually attractive quality in others.
shootie: Informal. a woman’s shoe that reaches, covers, or extends just above the ankle.
tabletop: noting or relating to a type of game that requires the physical presence of players and the manipulation of game pieces, as board games and some card games or role-playing games but not video games.
TBH: to be honest.
yaaas: Slang. Yes! (used as a strong expression of excitement, approval, agreement, etc.)
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