New Words Added to the Dictionary

Happy 300th Writing Style Tip of the Day!

New Words Added to the Dictionary
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary added a bunch of new words for 2011. In yet another sign of our era’s communications revolution, “social media” and “tweet” were officially added to the standard lexicon, along with more than 150 other new words and definitions.

“From the dramatic events of the Arab Spring to the scandal that brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner, ‘tweet’ is a word that has been part of the story,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s Editor at Large. “We’ve been tracking words like ‘social media’ and ‘tweet’ for years, of course, and now we feel their meanings have stabilized enough to include them in the dictionary.”

Other technology-related terms include crowdsourcing (the practice of obtaining information from a large group of people who contribute online), m-commerce (a business transaction conducted using a mobile electronic device), and robocall (an automated phone call made by computer.) Last year they added “texting;” this year they added “sexting.”

The additions also include interesting words reflecting the changing nature of human relationships: helicopter parent (a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child), boomerang child (a young adult who returns to live at his or her family home for financial reasons), and cyberbullying (a form of harassment using the computer.)

Some of the words reflect modern practices, such as parkour, a sport where people climb over obstacles, and the fist bump, a gesture made famous by US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary celebrated its 100th anniversary by releasing its 12th edition, adding 400 new words. Internet-speak words like LOL (laughing out loud), OMG (oh my god/gosh), and woot (an online whoop of enthusiasm) were among the new additions.

My favorite of the September 2011 additions for that dictionary is “Houstonian,” which after 31 years I consider myself to be, even though my accent doesn’t remotely resemble a Texas drawl.

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