850 Words Were Just Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Book Cave
4 min readMar 25, 2018


Have you heard about the 850 new words that were added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary?

“The language doesn’t take a vacation, and neither does the dictionary. The words we use are constantly changing in big ways and small, and we’re here to record those changes. Each word has taken its own path in its own time to become part of our language-to be used frequently enough by some in order to be placed in a reference for all.”

These are the words spoken by Merriam-Webster.com in a statement on their site as they prepared to add 850 words to the dictionary. While many of the words and terms they added may not sound new to you, they were not considered “real” words until now. Language naturally evolves with time, and new words are always being created. With the mass adoption of social media, the internet, and texting, t’s even more difficult to keep up with all the new words and abbreviations that are being used. Merriam-Webster regularly tracks up-and-coming words to add to their dictionary.

However, many grammar purists may be dismayed by some of the new words being added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Unfortunately for them, Meriam-Webster doesn’t care about how proper or improper a word seems, but rather if it is adopted by a lot of people and if people are likely to run into the word in their day-to-day lives. According to the Boston Globe, Merriam-Webster.com’s associate editor, Emily Brewster, said: “These new words have been added to the dictionary because they have become established members of the English language, and are terms people are likely to encounter.”

So while some of these words may spark rants on our declining language, I for one am glad that I’ll no longer have to turn to Urban Dictionary to decode these unfamiliar words.

So what new words were added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary?

While it would be a bit overwhelming to list all 850 new words and phrases added to the dictionary, we’ve pulled some highlights here.

  • 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.
  • Initial coin offering: the first sale of a cryptocurrency to the public conducted for the purpose of raising funds (as to support a start-up).
  • Kombucha: a gelatinous mass of symbiotic bacteria (as Acetobacter xylinum) and yeasts (as of the genera Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces) grown to produce a fermented beverage held to confer health benefits.
  • Self-care: care for oneself — stroke victims capable of daily self-care — the necessity of busy working parents to take time for self-care ; specifically : health care provided by oneself often without the consultation of a medical professional.
  • Wordie: a lover of words.
  • Dumpster fire: an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence.
  • Glamping: outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping.
  • Mansplain: to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.
  • Life hack: a usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently.
  • Hate-watch: to watch and take pleasure in laughing at or criticizing (a disliked television show, movie, etc.).
  • Neoadjuvant:: of, relating to, or being treatment (such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy) administered before primary cancer treatment (such as surgery) to enhance the outcome of primary treatment.
  • Subtweet: a usually mocking or critical tweet that alludes to another Twitter user without including a link to the user’s account and often without directly mentioning the user’s name.
  • Embiggen: to make bigger or more expansive.
  • Silver Alert: a widely publicized bulletin that alerts the public when an elderly person or a person with a cognitive disability goes missing.
  • Harissa: a spicy North African paste made from dried chilies, salt, oil, and other seasonings.
  • Kabocha: a winter squash (Curcubita maxima) of Japanese origin that is round with somewhat flattened top and bottom, typically dark green skin usually streaked or mottled with pale green, and yellowish-orange sweet flesh.
  • Tzatziki: a Greek yogurt sauce made with cucumbers and garlic.
  • Hmm: used to express the action or process of thinking.
  • Ooh: used to express amazement, joy, or surprise.
  • Mm-hmm: used to indicate agreement, satisfaction, or encouragement to continue speaking.
  • Welp: used informally like well (as to introduce a remark expressing resignation or disappointment).
  • Chiweenie: a dog that is a cross between a Chihuahua and a dachshund.

How do you feel about the words that were added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy reading.

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Originally published at https://mybookcave.com on March 25, 2018.



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