[General] 20 Words Merriam-Webster Is Adding to the Dictionary in 2021

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Of that list of 20, I'd heard of only four.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Of those 20:

1. Air fryer - this has been in use in BrE for a few years. I don't know what else people would call it!
2. Amirite - makes sense though I've never seen it written down.
3. Astroturf - familiar with the word but not this usage.
4. Breakthrough - I've heard this fairly frequently in the last six months or so.
5. Chicarron - new to me.
6. Copypasta - new to me.
7. Dad bod - I was familiar with this and the fact that it goes back to 2003 sounds about right.
8. Digital nomad - Heard this for the first time about three months ago, I think.
9. Doorbell camera - I am familiar with the name and the concept. Lots of people in the UK now have one.
10. Faux-hawk - this has been around for a good few years in the UK.
11. Fluffernutter - not in use in the UK. I'm familiar with it from watching a specific US prison drama.
12. Fourth trimester - I've never heard this one.
13. FTW - I've never seen this.
14. Halotherapy - I'm familiar with this and, in fact, there's a halotherapy centre about a mile from where I work.
15. Horchata - Very common drink from street carts in Madrid, where I used to live.
16. Super-spreader - Like most of us, first heard this about a year ago (or sometime since the start of Covid).
17. Oobleck - never heard it before.
18. Otaku - never heard it before.
19. TBH - this has been around in the UK for years, probably since texting (SMS) became popular.
20. Vaccine passport - has been in use more and more in the last six months or so.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
If these additions don't last, they will be forgotten, so I see no problem with adding them.
 

teto10

New member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
El Salvador
Current Location
El Salvador
Oobleck - never heard it before.
 

ProbusMkII

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
I recognized almost all of them. Chicharron is probably unknown in BrE. It's a Mexican delicacy: deep fried pork rinds. Yum!
 

Skrej

Key Member
Joined
May 11, 2015
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Some of these aren't exactly 'new' words. Both in the sense that they've been around for quite a while, and also in the sense that they're just combining existing words that don't really have any special new meaning. For example 'doorbell camera' hardly even seems to merit an entry as a "new word". It's a pretty self-explanatory compound noun, not a new word. Likewise for 'air fryer', although perhaps it's not as self-explanatory. Even 'dad bod' is pretty intuitive if you think about it for a second.

I'm kind of curious on their standards for 'new'. Two of the food ones (horchata and chicaron) aren't new words, but rather just loan words. I've been hearing them since I was a kid, what with living in a predominately Hispanic region. Ditto for fluffernutter, :down: which has been around for about as long as the nasty marshmallow cream has been. Some of these words have been around for quite some number of years, while others (covid-related) do seem to be relatively knew.

I honestly thought 'amirite' was outdated internet slang at this point. I've been using it for many years, but hardly ever see it any more.

The only ones I wasn't familiar with were:
halotheraphy
otaku
fourth trimester


These two have new definitions or usages that I wasn't familiar with:
atroturf

breakthrough (in this specific, negative sense)

While I have heard of and knew what oobleck was, I still refer to it as 'silly putty'. Breakthrough has always had this notion of bypassing some kind of defensive barrier or hurdle, so again the only new aspect is that it can now takes on a negative connotation as well.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
The OED added squarial for a square satellite TV dish just a few weeks before the company went bust. It is still in dictionaries, but now as a historical usage.
 

Yetanotherprobus

New member
Joined
Nov 17, 2021
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Both physics and economics dictate that the antenna must be circular, so the square antenna company deserved to go bankrupt.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
It did, but it conned the dictionaries first. ;-)
 
Top