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The Dictionary Gets Buzzy

826 Days ago

640 New Words and Definitions Added to Merriam-Webster.com

Springfield, MA, April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Buzzy (as in “generating buzz”) joins more than 640 new words and meanings added to Merriam-Webster.com, the dictionary helping millions of people understand and use language better. These new terms and uses offer a window into how the English language is changing and expanding, and reflect a wide variety of fields and endeavors, from business to sports, from social media to today’s headlines. 

More on How a Word Gets Into the Dictionary, plus an Infographic

The world of entertainment brings us the new term bottle episode, “an inexpensively produced episode of a television series that is typically confined to one setting.” While not known for its bottle episodes, The Walking Dead series has inspired some viewers to prepare a bug-out bag. Every show has its stans, of course—that is “an extremely devoted fan.”  

“Our language is constantly evolving, and we observe and report on these changes,” explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. “This means not only the new words in our vocabulary, but the new uses of existing words like peak (as in “peak television”) and the disparaging meaning of snowflake.”

Sports enthusiasts may be familiar with the term garbage time, defined as “the final moments or minutes of a game in which one side has an insurmountable lead, substitutes often enter the game in place of starting players, and scoring is typically easier because of looser defensive play."

New senses of headwind and tailwind have blown in from the business world, along with vulture capitalism, “a form of venture capitalism in which aggressive methods are used to buy a distressed business with the intention of selling it at a profit.” The field of medicine brings us salutogenesis, which refers to an approach to human health that focuses on physical and mental well-being rather than on disease, along with top surgery and bottom surgery, types of gender confirmation surgery. 

Other notable additions include on-brand (“appropriate to, typical of, consistent with, or supportive of a particular brand or public image or identity”), stick and poke (which refers to a nonelectronic method of tattooing), and swole, a word that describes those among us “having a physique enhanced by bodybuilding exercises.”

See a larger selection of new words added—and their definitions—here.



Meghan Lunghi
Merriam-Webster Inc.
413-734-3134 x8152

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