Merriam-Webster Added 520 Timely New Words to the Dictionary

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Merriam-Webster, the hippest and most culturally relevant dictionary around, has added 520 new words and their to its roster, and many of them will remind you that 2020 was quite a year—to say the least.


Language is constantly evolving, and it's important for the dictionary to evolve with it. Merriam-Webster explains the evolution perfectly:

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"Language is a measure of culture, but also, in many ways, language can be a measure of time. The words we use—if they are new or relatively new—are the words we need to express and explain our world. If these words then also become widely used, it becomes the dictionary's job to explain this use."


There are new words to describe the Coronavirus pandemic, including pod; bubble; and long hauler, which is a person who experiences long-tern effects after recovering from a serious illness (like COVID-19).

New online communication words include reaction GIF, when a GIF is sent in reply to something; hard pass, a firm refusal of something; cancel culture, the practice of canceling someone or something after widespread disapproval; and digital blackface, which is when white people use digital depictions of Black or brown people or skin tones for the purpose of self-representation or self-expression.


A few new words about identity were added, including BIPOC, which stands for Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color; sapiosexual, a word for those who are characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to highly intelligent people; and silver fox, AKA Anderson Cooper.

And perhaps the most notable new word: Second Gentleman, which needs no explanation.

You can check out more from the new batch of words here.