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New Words in 2019

Updated: Dec 7, 2019


What are you doing if you are drinking your “java” in a “go-cup” from your favorite coffee shop while using your “screen time” to research if the cup is “on-brand?” Unless you work for Starbucks, you are probably avoiding holiday shopping or work. Otherwise, it seems a silly thing to be doing. But you are also incorporating 4 of the words introduced into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2019.


In 2019 Merriam-Webster added more than 640 new words (or definitions for existing words) into the Dictionary. Like it or not (and believe me, opinions run hot on this topic and have disrupted many a family dinner), most dictionaries these days are more “descriptive” than “prescriptive.” Merriam-Webster falls in the “descriptive” camp.


As described on EnglishPlus.com, “Descriptive dictionaries describe the language. They include words that are commonly used even if they are nonstandard. They will often include nonstandard spellings. Prescriptive dictionaries tend to be more concerned about correct or standard English. They prescribe the proper usage and spelling of words.”


This year, Merriam-Webster determined more than 640 words had achieved common enough usage to be included in the Dictionary. Among those words are:


Snowflake: Now used to mean both “someone regarded or treated as unique or special” and “someone who is overly sensitive.”

Goldilocks: Even a fairy tale can become a metaphor, and this new colorful definition, referring to the character whose preferred porridge is neither too hot nor too cold, has inspired astronomers to use it to describe “an area of planetary orbit in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to support life.”

Gender nonconforming: exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one's sex.

Gig economy: (coined in 2009) economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs typically in the service sector.

EGOT: An acronym that stands for the rare achievement of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. (Incidentally, this status is reserved for only 15 individuals, including Richard Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, and, as of 2018, the youngest to achieve EGOT status, John Legend.)


Curious about other words added? Visit Merriam-Webster’s New Words for 2019.

Oh, and, in case you’re wondering, it turns out “ain’t” IS in most dictionaries. Sorry, Mom.


Note: When capitalized in this post, “Dictionary” refers specifically to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” When not capitalized, the word refers to dictionaries, in general. The definitions provided are quoted as is, directly from Merriam-Webster's site, and are not my own.


(Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/new-words-in-the-dictionary-april-2019)




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