by Stanley Azuakola
The 114-year-old Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has picked about 100 new additions in its annual update. And you would not believe the words that got in this time.
The entry expected to attract by far the most comments is the term “F-bomb.” F-bomb first appeared in a 1988 Newsday story about a now-dead baseball player Gary Carter. The term is already listed in many online dictionaries and reference sites, but this is the first time it’s entering into print in a mainstream dictionary.
The New Oxford American Dictionary, published by the Oxford University Press, is also considering F-bomb for a future update.
Other words which made it into Merriam-Webster this year include sexting, energy drink, earworm, aha moment, life coach, and bucket list.
Before a word is included in the dictionary, editors gather evidence of usage of that word over a long period of time in everything from movies, media, designer labels, and boxes of frozen food.
Last year’s most talked about word included in the Merriam-Webster was “tweet.”
According to an editor with Merriam-Webster, Stamper, this year’s list is more eclectic.
“This is a list of really descriptive and evocative, fun words. Some years, not so fun. Some years it’s a lot of science words. Some years it’s a lot of words around really heavy topics,” she said.
Like she said, this year’s list also has a few words related to heavy topics. Words like “copernicium,” which is a short-lived, artifically produced radioactive element that has 112 protons and is the most recent addition to the Periodic Table of Elements. It was first created in a German lab in 1996 and named for the astronomer Copernicus.
And in the season of economic recession, some economic terms got in as well. Words like “underwater,” which describes the heartbreaking realization that you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth, as well as an extra definition for “toxic,” as it relates to an “asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market.”
So for all you spelling bee wannabes, here’s a list of YNaija’s Top 10 Merriam-Webster new entries, and their meanings (with the year they first surfaced in brackets):
flexitarian n (1998): one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish
game changer n (1993): a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way
aha moment n (1939): a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension
brain cramp n (1982): an instance of temporary mental confusion resulting in an error or lapse of judgment
bucket list n (2006): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying
energy drink n (1904): a usually carbonated beverage that typically contains caffeine and other ingredients (as taurine and ginseng) intended to increase the drinker’s energy
sexting n (2007): the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone
f-bomb n (1988): … used metaphorically as a euphemism
earworm n (1802) 1: CORN EARWORM 2: a song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind
gastropub n (1996): a pub, bar, or tavern that also offers meals of high quality