25 of the New Words Merriam-Webster Is Adding to the Dictionary in 2018

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If you don't spend most of your time on the internet, it can be hard to keep up with the evolving lingo of the digital age. Luckily, the editors at Merriam-Webster have done the hard work of keeping track of the most important new terms to know: The American institution has added over 840 new words to its dictionary, many of which didn't exist a couple of decades ago.

Readers fluent in internet-speak will be familiar with many of the entries on the list, and there are also plenty of new words that are specific to the tech world. Not every word that's new to the dictionary is necessarily new to language; Merriam-Webster now includes some culinary terms that have been around for a while, and the new list also features abbreviations of common words. Check out a sample of the new entries below.

1. BOUGIE (ADJ.)

Short for bourgeois, this term means "Marked by a concern for wealth, possessions, and respectability."

2. TL;DR (ABBREV.)

"Too long; didn't read—used to say that something would require too much time to read."

3. BINGEABLE (ADJ.)

"Having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession."

4. PREDICTIVE (ADJ.)

As in predictive text: "Of, relating to, or usable or valuable for prediction."

5. HAPTICS (N.)

"The use of electronically or mechanically generated movement that a user experiences through the sense of touch as part of an interface (such as on a gaming console or smartphone)."

6. FORCE QUIT (V.)

"To force (an unresponsive computer program) to shut down (as by using a series of preset keystrokes)."

7. AIRPLANE MODE (N.)

"An operating mode for an electronic device (such as a mobile phone) in which the device does not connect to wireless networks and cannot send or receive communications (such as calls or text messages) or access the Internet but remains usable for other functions."

8. INSTAGRAM (V.)

"To post (a picture) to the Instagram photo-sharing service."

9. BIOHACKING (N.)

"Biological experimentation (as by gene editing or the use of drugs or implants) done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups outside of a traditional medical or scientific research environment."

10. FINTECH (N.)

"Products and companies that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industries."

11. MARG (N.)

A margarita. According to Merriam-Webster, the first known usage occurred in 1990.

12. FAVE (N.)

Favorite. This word is older than it looks: It dates back to 1938. ("Lester Harding, heavy fave here, clicks with pop songs," was the first usage, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.)

13. ADORBS (ADJ.)

"Extremely charming or appealing : adorable."

14. RANDO (N.)

According to Merriam-Webster, this "often disparaging" slang means "A random person: a person who is not known or recognizable or whose appearance (as in a conversation or narrative) seems unprompted or unwelcome."

15. GUAC (N.)

Guacamole.

16. IFTAR (N.)

"A meal taken by Muslims at sundown to break the daily fast during Ramadan."

17. GOCHUJANG (N.)

A spicy paste used in Korean cuisine that is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, and fermented soybeans.

18. MISE EN PLACE (N.)

"A culinary process in which ingredients are prepared and organized (as in a restaurant kitchen) before cooking."

19. HOPHEAD (N.)

Originally a slang word for a drug addict dating back to 1883, this word these days means "A beer enthusiast."

20. ZOODLE (N.)

"A long, thin strip of zucchini that resembles a string or narrow ribbon of pasta."

21. HANGRY (ADJ.)

"Irritable or angry because of hunger." People have been hangry (or at least using the word) since 1956.

22. MOCKTAIL (N.)

"A usually iced drink made with any of various ingredients (such as juice, herbs, and soda water) but without alcohol: a nonalcoholic cocktail."

23. LATINX (ADJ.)

"Of, relating to, or marked by Latin American heritage—used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina."

24. GENERATION Z (N.)

The generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

25. TENT CITY (N.)

"A collection of many tents set up in an area to provide usually temporary shelter (as for displaced or homeless people)."

Why 'Run' Is The Most Complex Word in the English Language

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iStock.com/VectorStory

English can be hard for other language speakers to learn. To use just one example, there are at least eight different ways of expressing events in the future, and conditional tenses are another matter entirely. For evidence of the many nuances and inconsistencies of the English tongue, look no further than this tricky poem penned in 1920. (For a sample: “Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!”)

As author Simon Winchester wrote for The New York Times, there’s one English word in particular that’s deceptively simple: run. As a verb, it boasts a record-setting 645 definitions. Peter Gilliver, a lexicographer and associate editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, spent nine months sussing out its many shades of meaning.

“You might think this word simply means ‘to go with quick steps on alternate feet, never having both or (in the case of many animals) all feet on the ground at the same time,’” Winchester writes. “But no such luck: that is merely sense I.1a, and there are miles to go before the reader of this particular entry may sleep.”

This wasn’t always the case, though. When the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928, the word with the most definitions was set. However, the word put later outpaced it, and run eventually overtook them both as the English language's most complex word. Winchester thinks this evolution is partly due to advancements in technology (for instance, “a train runs on tracks” and “an iPad runs apps”).

He believes the widespread use of run—and its intricate web of meanings—is also a reflection of our times. “It is a feature of our more sort of energetic and frantic times that set and put seem, in a peculiar way, sort of rather stodgy, rather conservative,” Gilliver told NPR in an interview.

So the next time you tell your boss you "want to run an idea" by them, know that you’re unconsciously expressing your enthusiasm—as well as all the other subtleties wrapped up in run that previous words like set failed to capture.

[h/t The New York Times]

Scholar Claims the Voynich Manuscript Is Written in a 'Proto-Romance' Language

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, Wikimedia Commons
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, Wikimedia Commons

Various theories have attributed the Voynich manuscript to cryptographers, aliens, and pranksters. The book, written in an unknown text and dating back to the 15th century, has stumped codebreakers since it was rediscovered by a rare book dealer named Wilfred Voynich in 1912. Now, a scholar from the UK claims that the Voynich code isn't a code at all, but one of the only surviving examples of a proto-romance language, Artnet News reports. If true, it would have huge implications on the study of linguistics as a whole, but experts are hesitant to endorse the findings.

Gerard Cheshire, a research associate at the University of Bristol in England, describes his alleged breakthrough in a study published in the journal Romance Studies. He claims that the Voynich manuscript was written in a fully formed language Europeans spoke centuries ago. Proto-romance laid the foundation for modern languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Hardly any known examples of it survived in writing because it was mainly a spoken language. Most important texts from the time were written in Latin, the official language of royalty, the church, and the government.

After identifying the Voynich script, Cheshire claims it took him just to weeks to translate the text. One passage next to an illustration of women struggling to give children a bath lists adjectives like noisy, slippery, and well-behaved, according to Cheshire. Another section, written beside pictures of volcanoes, describes islands being born out of volcanic eruptions. The scholar believes that Dominican nuns compiled the manuscript as a reference book for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon—Catherine of Aragon's great-aunt.

Many people have claimed to have cracked the Voynich code in the past, and experts are hesitant believe that this time is any different. After academics expressed concerns over the study, Bristol University where Cheshire works released a statement distancing itself from the research. It reads: "We take such concerns very seriously and have therefore removed the story regarding this research from our website to seek further validation and allow further discussions both internally and with the journal concerned."

If Cheshire's research does prove to be valid, that means he's accomplished something the greatest code-breaking minds in modern history could not. Not even cryptographer Alan Turing could crack the cipher.

[h/t Artnet News]

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