dictionary update
May 20, 2014

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Updated For 2014 – New Words Include Tweep, Selfie, and Hashtag

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

Every year, the major dictionaries (Oxford English Dictionary, Mirriam-Webster, etc.) add new words that have gained in popularity. For example, in 1998, "D'oh!" from the Simpsons was added to the Oxford English Dictionary with a very official sounding definition to explain this word that essentially meant "oh that was stupid" in common usage.

On Monday, Mirriam-Webster released its list of the 150 new words being added to America's best known dictionary in 2014. Most of these words reflect an intersection of popular culture and technology, such as "selfie," "hashtag," "steampunk," "Auto-tune" and "paywall." Others are derived from new American eating habits such as "freegan" (eating from dumpsters for free), and "turducken" (a name for the practice of stuffing a turkey with a duck that is in turn stuffed with a chicken.

According to Time reporter Katy Steinmetz, even celebrities have had their influence on this list.

Some of the words are relatively new ("hashtag" 2008) and some are a re-imagining of an old word ("catfish" 1612 for the fish, 2010 for the false online social media profile meant to dupe someone).

Each of the new words not only include a definition, but the first year the Merriam-Webster researchers could find it in use. For example, "fangirl" is being added this year, but it has been in popular usage since 1934.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” explained Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster, in a statement. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification, and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

The public is invited to weigh in on the new words on Twitter, using hashtag #MW2014NewWords or follow @MerriamWebster or @PeterSokolowski. Doing so would surely make you a "tweep."

If you would like the see the entire list and their definitions, or the reactions of some of the people who brought words such as "catfish" to the public eye, you can visit the Merriam-Webster website.

GET YOUR OWN COPY: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Laminated Cover)