53 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary

iStock.com/Pglam
iStock.com/Pglam

The Oxford Dictionary Online is a warehouse of over 100,000 words. Despite this large arsenal, we continue to coin, clip, and blend new words into existence, and the Oxford folks pump some of these new words into their dictionaries. Here are some more recent additions with their official definitions.

1. Anthropocene (adj) : Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. (Noun: The Anthropocene.)

2. Anytown (n): A real or fictional place regarded as being typical of a small U.S. town.

3. Autotune (n): A device or facility for tuning something automatically, especially a computer program which enables the correction of an out-of-tune vocal performance.

4. Badassery (n): Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive.

5. Big Data (n): Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

6. Binge-Watch (v): Watch multiple episodes of (a television program) in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

7. Buzzworthy (adj): Likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.

8. Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.

Platinum rings on shattered glass 
Some platinum rings, or bling
iStock.com/manley099

9. Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.

10. Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.

11. Crunk (adj): Very excited or full of energy.

12. DIY (adj and n): The activity of decorating, building, and making repairs at home by oneself rather than employing a professional.

13. D'oh (ex): Exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.

14. Droolworthy (adj): Extremely attractive or desirable.

15. Fatberg (n): A very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.

16. Frankenfood (n): Genetically modified food.

17. Geekfest (n): A gathering of geeks, especially one devoted to technical discussions; a single ongoing activity that is particularly appealing to geeks.

18. Grrrl (n): A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality.

19. Guyliner (n): Eyeliner that is worn by men.

A young man wearing guyliner
A young man wearing guyliner
iStock.com/Image Source

20. Hater (n): A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

21. Illiterati (n): People who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.

22. Infomania (n): The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.

23. Jeggings (n): Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

24. La-la Land (n): A fanciful state or dream world. Also, Los Angeles.

26. Listicle (n): A piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.

27. Locavore (n): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

A basket of kale
Locally grown kale, perfect for locavores
iStock.com/:alice dias didszoleit

28. Mankini (n): A brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

29. Mansplain (v): (of a man) Explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

30. Microaggression (n): A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.

31. Mini-Me (n): A person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

32. Muffin Top (n): A roll of fat visible above the top of a pair of women’s tight-fitting low-waisted trousers.

33. Muggle (n): A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

34. Noob (n): A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the internet.

35. Obvs (adv): Obviously.

36. OMG (ex): Used to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief. (Dates back to 1917.)

37. Po-po (n): The police.

38. Purple State (n): A U.S. state where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters.

39. Screenager (n): A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the internet.

40. Sexting (n): The sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

41. Textspeak (n): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons. (wut hpns win u write lyk dis.)

42. Totes (adv): Totally.

43. Truthiness (n): the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

44. Twerk (v): Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

45. Twitterati (n): Keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter.

46. Unfriend (v): Remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site.

47. Upcycle (v): Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

48. Vlog (n): A personal website or social media account where a person regularly posts short videos.

49. Whatevs (ex, adv): Whatever.

50. Whovian (n): A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.

51. Woot (ex): (Especially in electronic communication) Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph.

Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 
Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 
iStock.com/Ian_Redding

52. Yarn-Bomb (v): Cover (an object or structure in a public place) with decorative knitted or crocheted material, as a form of street art.

53. YouTuber (n): A person who uploads, produces, or appears in videos on the video-sharing website YouTube.

This piece was updated in 2019.

Farther vs. Further: There’s an Easy Way to Remember the Difference, and When to Use Which

imtmphoto/iStock via Getty Images
imtmphoto/iStock via Getty Images

Even for native speakers, the English language is full of booby traps. That's why people are so hesitant to use whom instead of who, and why thinking about the differences between lay and lie is enough to give professional linguists a headache. One of the more common pitfalls is further vs. farther: Both words describe similar situations, and there's only one letter separating them. Though they're often used interchangeably, there is a difference between further and farther, and luckily for anyone who struggles with grammar, there's an easy trick to remember what it is.

Further and farther are both used in relation to progress, but the type of progress they describe differs. According to Quick and Dirty Tips, farther is reserved for physical distance, i.e. "the runner was farther down the track than his competitor," while further is used for figurative or metaphorical scenarios, such as "the senator was interrupted before she could go further in her speech."

The best way to remember this is to look at the first three letters of the words. Farther starts with far, a word that's associated with physical distance. This can remind you to use farther when describing things like car trips and walks, and save further for concepts like projects, movies, and dreams.

This distinction is clear enough, but things can get sticky when it's not totally obvious if a statement is dealing with physical or metaphorical distance. Take the sentence "the writer had gotten farther in her poem by the afternoon" as an example. If the progress being referred to is lines on a page, farther works just fine, but if the speaker is talking about the poem as a piece of art, further may be more more appropriate. In such instances, it's usually safest to default to further: Usage for farther is slightly stricter, and because further deals with situations that are already hard to define, you can get away with using it in more contexts. And if you still get them mixed up, don't let it bother you too much. Merriam-Webster notes that great writers have been using farther and further interchangeably for centuries.

[h/t Quick and Dirty Tips]

11 Untranslatable Words for Happiness From Around the World

CarlosDavid.org/iStock via Getty Images
CarlosDavid.org/iStock via Getty Images

You know that feeling you get when you listen to your favorite song? Or the feeling you get when somebody cancels a meeting? You’d probably categorize both as happiness, but they’re not exactly the same emotion. And, while there are plenty of English synonyms for happiness—such as joy, pleasure, cheer, glee, contentment—none of them really capture either feeling with much precision.

In his new book, Happiness—Found in Translation, psychologist Tim Lomas creates a road map for identifying various types of happiness, filled with words from other languages that don’t necessarily have English equivalents. In addition to expanding your mental lexicon with beautiful vocabulary, Lomas argues that learning words to describe different feelings can actually magnify the feelings themselves. “Generally, the more awareness and understanding we have of our emotional lives, the greater our well-being,” he writes.

Happiness Found in Translation by Tim Lomas book cover image
Amazon

Expand your emotional literacy with 11 of our favorite happiness terms below, complemented by illustrations from Annika Huett.

1. Shinrin-yoku (Japanese)

Happiness Found in Translation - Shinrin-yoku
Annika Huett

“Forest-bathing.”

Going for a walk in the woods can sometimes clear your mind just as well as a good meditation session. There’s no English term to capture the restorative effect of immersing yourself in nature, but the Japanese call it shinrin-yoku.

2. Charmolypi (Greek)

“Sweet, joy-making sorrow.”

The best word we have to describe how you feel while celebrating the life of a loved one who recently died or waving goodbye to your toddler on their first day of school is probably bittersweet, but that doesn’t convey the depth of that peculiar happy-sad emotion quite like charmolypi does.

3. Fjaka (Croatian)

Happiness Found in Translation - Fjaka
Annika Huett

“The sweetness of doing nothing.”

In a society that champions the ability to multitask above all else, not trying to check the next item off your to-do list can seem overindulgent or even counterproductive. But if you do manage to surrender your whole mind and body to not doing anything at all, it can feel almost euphoric. Croatians call this all-encompassing relaxation fjaka.

4. Pretoogjes (Dutch)

“Fun eyes.”

Have you ever met someone whose expression made you feel like you were in on a joke, without even knowing what the joke was? You might say they had a twinkle in their eye, which the Dutch call pretoogjes, or “fun eyes.”

5. Sólarfrí (Icelandic)

Happiness Found in Translation - Solarfri
Annika Huett

“Sun holiday.”

In Iceland, employees are sometimes granted an unexpected day off to enjoy a warm, sunny day. Though sun holidays might be uncommon in the U.S., we’re well-acquainted with the nameless joy of unexpected freedom—many people experience it when their social plans get canceled.

6. Tarab (Arabic)

Happiness Found in Translation - Tarab
Annika Huett

“Musically induced ecstasy or enchantment.”

Though the specific songs, emotional reactions, and reasons behind those reactions may vary from person to person, being moved by music is a universal experience—even babies sometimes cry when they hear certain songs. In Arabic, this sense of losing yourself in the music is called tarab.

7. Sprezzatura (Italian)

“Nonchalant effortlessness.”

Often, as in the case of a ballerina’s grand jeté or Johnny Depp’s unruly lock of hair in 1990’s Cry-Baby, seemingly effortless grace is only achieved by years of practice (or gobs of hair gel). The ability to make something look so beautifully careless through careful study is known as sprezzatura in Italy.

8. Mamihlapinatapai (Yagán)

Happiness Found in Translation - Mamihlapinatapai
Annika Huett

“A look between people that expresses unspoken but mutual desire.”

A glance exchanged between two people who share a desire but are each hoping the other will make the first move is so full of nuance and complexity that we unsurprisingly haven’t come up with an English word to describe it. The Yagán people of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and Chile did not have a similar issue—they named it mamihlapinatapai.

9. Etterpåklokskap (Norwegian)

“After wisdom.”

Mistakes, however dumb they may make us feel in the moment, are one of the best ways to learn and grow. Etterpåklokskap perfectly describes the grounded, enlightened feeling you get when you know exactly how to handle a situation because you’ve seen it (and screwed it up) before.

10. Engelengeduld (Dutch)

Happiness Found in Translation - Engelengeduld
Annika Huett

“Angelic patience.”

The saint-like grace with which mothers react to just about everything that their kids do, from spitting up on their new blouses to throwing tornado-level temper tantrums in supermarkets, definitely deserves a special term. The Dutch call it engelengeduld.

11. Orka (Swedish)

Happiness Found in Translation - Orka
Annika Huett

“Requisite energy for a task.”

Completing a task isn’t always just about having enough physical energy for it—you also have to care enough to actually expend that energy. You might have orka to throw a surprise birthday party for your best friend, but you might not have orka to study for a quiz that probably won’t affect your final grade.

Reprinted with permission from TarcherPerigee. Get a copy of Happiness—Lost in Translation for $13 from Amazon.

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