Here’s a “life hack” for all you “wordies” out there: If you want to stay abreast of linguistic trends, take a look at the 850 new words Merriam-Webster has added to its dictionary.
The publisher announced the new additions on Monday, with words inspired by cuisine, finance, the internet and even “The Simpsons” making the cut.
Among the new words are “life hack,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently,” and “wordie” (“a lover of words”).
A slightly more recent coinage, familiar to many social media users fond of roasting their least favorite Hollywood exports, is “hate-watch,” which means “to watch and take pleasure in laughing at or criticizing (a disliked television show, movie, etc.).”
Fans of “The Simpsons” will be delighted to see that “embiggen” (“to make bigger or more expansive”) has been added to the dictionary. The word, a favorite of internet users, was coined in 1996 in the “Simpsons” episode “Lisa the Iconoclast,” written by Jonathan Collier. (Sadly, the word “cromulent,” from the same episode, has yet to receive Merriam-Webster’s imprimatur.)
Other web-inspired words joining the dictionary include “dumpster fire” (“an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence”), “case-sensitive” (“requiring correct input of uppercase and lowercase letters”) and “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”).
Anyone who’s spent much time on the internet is probably familiar with “mansplain” (“to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic”) and “welp,” an interjection “used informally like ‘well’ (as to introduce a remark expressing resignation or disappointment).”
Some of the new words come from the culinary world. Merriam-Webster now has definitions for everyone’s favorite gyro accompaniment, tzatziki (“a Greek yogurt sauce made with cucumbers and garlic”) and the hipster-approved beverage kombucha, which boasts the rather unappetizing definition of “a gelatinous mass of symbiotic bacteria... and yeasts ... grown to produce a fermented beverage held to confer health benefits.”
Those who are curious about the world of Bitcoin might be interested in the dictionary’s definitions of “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 “blockchain” (“a digital database containing information ... that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network”).
Merriam-Webster editor at large Peter Sokolowski said the new additions are reflective of English being “a vibrant living language.”
“In this age of fast communication, and technological and scientific advances, we continuously encounter new ways of describing the world around us — and the dictionary is a record of these changes,” he said.