It’s Saturday night and you’re happily playing Scrabble with your family. It’s your turn and you have three s’s and a bunch of vowels. “What can I spell?” you think to yourself. “Got it!” You pull out your tiles and place them to spell, “Seussian.” “That’s not a word!” your brother yells. “It is too!” you say. That’s when mom pulls out the dictionary and looks up the word. “Well, look at that,” your mom says, “Seussian is a word! How did you know?” You say, “I read about these new words that were added to the dictionary in Xyza!”
Merriam-Webster, a company that publishes dictionaries and other reference books, just announced that they’ve added 1,000 new words to the dictionary this year. How were these words chosen to be a part of the official English language? It’s a process of looking at 1) how often a word is used in other publications (or things like magazines and books) or the number of times it appears in publications, 2) if the word is used the same way in different publications, and 3) how long the word has been used.
So, what were some of the words that made it into the dictionary this year?
Seussian: things related to Dr. Seuss books
Binge-watch: watching a lot of something in a row
Face-palm: when hands cover the face in embarrassment
Humblebrag: when someone criticizes him or herself, but what is said is actually meant to brag about an accomplishment
Fast Fashion: Clothes that are produced quickly and sold cheaply to keep up with trends
Huh: a word used to signal a question, lack of understanding, surprise, confusion
Let’s use these words in a dialogue, shall we?
Friend: Did you get to binge-watch the entire season of Jessie last weekend?
You: No. Did you?
Friend: Oh, my mom only let me watch five episodes. Lame, right?
You: Only five episodes???? I didn’t get to watch anything this weekend. Is this your way of humblebragging that your mom didn’t make you clean your room this weekend?
Friend: No. I’d never! Why did you have to clean your room?
You: My mom says I have too much stuff, fast fashion and all.
Friend: Huh? How else are you going to keep up with the trends, right?
You: Exactly. That’s why when my mom told me I should just stick to the basics, I gave her my best face-palm.
What words do you think will wind up in the dictionary next year? We’re predicting Xyza.