Merriam-Webster adds hundreds of words for the digital age

Merriam-Webster has added more than 600 new words to its dictionary.

Merriam-Webster has added more than 600 new words to its dictionary. Photo: Getty/TND

US publisher Merriam-Webster has recently added 690 entries to its dictionary.

Some entries have been in the news, like UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon), and others have made waves online and in pop culture, but all “demonstrated widespread use over time, and offer a window into the world today”.

A Merriam-Webster spokesperson said words being created, borrowed from other languages or words having a new meaning associated with it are all signs of a healthy language.

Based on our most recent research, we are pleased to inform you that English is very (very!) healthy,” the spokesperson said.

The New Daily has picked out some of the stand-out phrases and words to add to your vocabulary.

More slang

From doggo to rizz, plenty of slang terms have made their way into the dictionary.

Some are abbreviations and others are phrases that have taken on a new meaning.

Recently added slang, as defined by Merriam-Webster

  • Rizz noun, slang: Romantic appeal or charm
  • Doggo noun, slang: Dog
  • Padawan noun, informal: A young person, especially when regarded as naïve, inexperienced, etc
  • Bingo card noun … 2 slang: A list of possible, expected, or likely scenarios – usually used in the phrase on one’s bingo card
  • Simp verb, informal: To show excessive devotion to or longing for someone or something
  • GOATED adjective, slang: Considered to be the greatest of all time
  • Bussin’ adjective, African-American English slang: Extremely good – excellent; especially delicious, tasty
  • Cromulent adjective, informal + humorous: Acceptable, satisfactory
  • Mid adjective … 2 informal: Neither very good nor very bad  so-so, meh
  • NGL abbreviation, informal not gonna lie: Not going to lie
  • TFW abbreviation, informal: That feeling when – used especially on social media or in text messages to introduce a relatable scenario or an image that evokes a specific feeling
  • TTYL abbreviation, informal: talk to you later.

Culture and society

Quiet quitting, chef’s kiss and thirst trap – they are phrases that we hear online and offline.

There’s another way to express satisfaction when you come across something that isn’t “mid” during your doomscroll.

Recently added cultural phrases as defined by Merriam-Webster

  • Thirst trap noun: A photograph (such as a selfie) or video shared for the purpose of attracting attention or desire; also: Someone or something that attracts attention or strong desire
  • ’grammable adjective: Suitable to be posted on the Instagram photo-sharing service  Instagrammable
  • Doomscroll verb: To spend excessive time online scrolling (see scroll entry 2) through news or other content that makes one feel sad, anxious, angry, etc
  • Edgelord noun, slang: Someone who makes wildly dark and exaggerated statements (as on an internet forum) with the intent of shocking others
  • Finsta noun, slang: A secret or incognito account on the Instagram photo-sharing service
  • Quiet quit verb: To do the minimum amount of work required for a job  to engage in quiet quitting
  • Chef’s kiss noun: A gesture of satisfaction or approval made by kissing the fingertips of one hand and then spreading the fingers with an outward motion — often used interjectionally.

Talk for the digital world

The digital world is rapidly evolving, so it’s not surprising there are more phrases relating to it.

A number refer to advances in technology that many would have heard of, like generative AI and large language model.

Recently added digital phrases, as defined by Merriam-Webster

  • Generative AI noun: Artificial intelligence that is capable of generating new content (such as images or text) in response to a submitted prompt (such as a query) by learning from a large reference database of examples
  • Large language model noun: A language model that uses deep methods on an extremely large data set as a basis for predicting and constructing natural-sounding text
  • Vector graphics noun: A process of creating digital images by using mathematical formulas to specify the relationship between the elements of the image (such as the start and end points of a line) rather than by defining each individual pixel
  • Smishing noun: The practice of sending text messages to someone in order to trick the person into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used for criminal purposes
  • Hallucination noun … 3: A plausible but false or misleading response generated by an artificial intelligence algorithm.

In the real world

The US government has decided to rebrand UFOs to UAPs, so the Merriam-Webster has provided a definition.

There’s a new word for denim shorts.

Recently added everyday phrases, as defined by Merriam-Webster

  • UAP abbreviation or noun: Unidentified aerial phenomenon (a mysterious flying object in the sky that is sometimes assumed to be a spaceship from another planet). 
  • Nyctinasty noun: Plant movement (such as the closing of a flower’s petals or the reorientation of a leaf’s position) that occurs in response to changes in light intensity (such as the onset of darkness) 
  • Rewild verb 1: To return to a more natural or wild state: to make or become natural or wild again; specifically: to increase biodiversity and restore the natural processes of an ecosystem typically by reducing or ceasing human activity and reintroducing plant and animal species 
  • Crate-dig verb: To shop for rare, vintage, or obscure recordings especially by searching through crates of second-hand merchandise
  • Tiny house noun: A small house or mobile home that typically has a floor plan of less than 500 square feet (46.45 square metres) 
  • Jorts plural noun: Shorts made of denim or jean jean shorts.
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