Hashtag, selfie, and tweep join over 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary in 2014, available now in print and online at Merriam-Webster.com. These new additions to America’s best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.
Crowdfunding joins big data and gamification, illustrating how technology is being used to understand and motivate behavior. A similar, if more playful, intersection of technology and human behavior can be seen in steampunk (“science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology”).
In the area of more intimate relationships, catfish, a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes. Catfish was popularized by the documentary and television series of the same name and by last year’s strange story of football player Manti Te’o’s nonexistent girlfriend.
“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification, and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”
New culinary terms include pho (“a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles”), turducken (“a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey”), and the Canadian favorite poutine (“a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds”).
Other notable additions include freegan, fracking, and Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Join the New Words conversation on Twitter using hashtag #MW2014NewWords.
To see how Ariel (Rel) Schulman, Henry Joost, and Nev Schulman, the creators of Catfish the documentary and Catfish the TV show, react to the new word being added, and for a sample blend of the latest Collegiate Dictionary entries—and their definitions—please visit merriam-webster.com/new-words/2014-update.htm.
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