Selfie, tweep, Yooper among new words in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary

New dictionary words
“Yooper,” one of 150 new words appearing in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

If you go to your neighborhood cafe to use a “hotspot,” and use your computer to create a “hashtag” about the “pho” dinner you had last night, you’ll have used three of the 150 new words just added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

The list of new words and phrases, added to the dictionary in its most recent edition, also includes “crowdfunding,” “digital divide,” and “pepita,” a pumpkin or squash seed that is often dried or toasted. 

On the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the locals were especially happy to see “Yooper” on the list. Yooper is a term that refers to residents of the region, where many people have Scandinavian roots and a distinctive accent.

“People up here, we really do have our own identity and our own culture,” Steve Parks, a Delta County prosecutor, told the Associated Press. Parks had long pressed Merriam-Webster to include the word. “We’re a really hardy bunch. We love the land, we love the lakes, we love hunting, we love fishing. You have to be very resilient to live up here.”


Many of the new words are related to new technologies. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, said in a statement. “Words like crowdfunding, gamification and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

A “tweep,” for the uninitiated, is a person who follows you on Twitter, as in the sentence, “Thanks to all my tweeps for the retweets.” On Monday, one poster on Twitter wrote, “It’s official. We’re all #tweeps.”

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