Merriam-Webster announces 370 new words, phrases to its dictionary

B.R. Shenoy

“Some of these words will amuse or inspire, others may provoke debate. Our job is to capture the language as it is used,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor at large, said in a statement.

Merriam-Webster announced on September 7 the addition of 370 new words and phrases to its dictionary that has served generations of Americans for 180 years.

Per Merriam-Webster:

“The dictionary chronicles how the language grows and changes, which means new words and definitions must continually be added. When many people use a word in the same way, over a long enough period of time, that word becomes eligible for inclusion.“

The list of new words contains additions that amply illustrate how everyone's lives have advanced in recent years.

Shrinkflation has become a household term as a result of global inflation.

Many of the terms are slang or are used casually on social media.

The global coronavirus pandemic has pushed terms that were once almost exclusively heard in medical circles onto everyone's tongue.

Many new words are derived from popular culture and named after television characters, such as the verb MacGyver.

Here is an excerpt from Engadget:

“The addition of “metaverse” comes as no surprise, seeing as companies like Facebook have been all about the virtual environment recently in meatspace. Yes, “meatspace” is a term now used to describe physical space and environment. “Altcoin” has also been added to describe alternatives to established cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.”

New Words

Here are some new words in the dictionary, along with their definitions.

  • supply chain: the chain of processes, businesses, etc. by which a commodity is produced and distributed: the companies, materials, and systems involved in manufacturing and delivering goods
  • shrinkflation: the practice of reducing a product's amount or volume per unit while continuing to offer it at the same price
  • pumpkin spice: a mixture of usually cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and often allspice that is commonly used in pumpkin pie
  • oat milk: a liquid made from ground oats and water that is usually fortified (as with calcium and vitamins) and used as a milk substitute
  • subvariant: one of two or more distinct forms or types of the same variant
  • booster dose: a supplementary dose of a therapeutic agent designed to increase the effectiveness of one or more previously administered doses
  • baller informal : excellent, exciting, or extraordinary, especially in a way that is suggestive of a lavish lifestyle
  • cringe slang: so embarrassing, awkward, etc. as to cause one to cringe: CRINGEWORTHY
  • FWIW abbreviation for what it's worth
  • ICYMI abbreviation in case you missed it

Closing Thoughts

This latest addition comes just ten months after the dictionary’s publisher released its previous edition, which included new words. Merriam-Webster added hundreds of new words in October to supplement the trends caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company now receives over fifty million monthly views.

Merriam-Webster has posted the list of new words on its website.

What are your thoughts on the latest additions to America’s most-trusted dictionary? Let us know in the comments.

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