Social media terms dominate the 2014 collegiate dictionary update
Merriam-Webster finally entered the digital age Monday, adding a slew of social-media-savvy terms like “selfie,” “hashtag,” and “tweep” to the 2014 update of its collegiate dictionary.
The eleventh edition of the dictionary captures how “technology is being used to understand and motivate behavior,” the lexicographers said in a statement.
“Selfie” was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013 — and it’s the title of a new ABC comedy premiering this fall — so Merriam-Webster seems to be following a trend.
Here is a sampling of some of the words added to the Webster Dictionary, along with the first known usage of the word or an indication of whether it’s been repurposed with a new meaning, a la “catfish.”
big data (n., 1980): an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools
catfish (n., new sense): a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
crowdfunding (n., 2006): the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people esp. from the online community
dubstep (n., 2002): a type of electronic dance music having prominent bass lines and syncopated drum patterns
fangirl (n., 1934): a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something
fracking (n., 1953): the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas)
freegan (n., 2006): an activist who scavenges for free food (as in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants) as a means of reducing consumption of resources
gamification (n., 2010): the process of adding game or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation
hashtag (n., 2008): a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that clarifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet)
hot spot (n., new sense): a place where a wireless Internet connection is available
paywall (n., 2004): a system that prevents Internet users from accessing certain Web content without a paid subscription
pho (n., 1935): a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles
poutine (n., 1982): chiefly Canada: a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds
selfie (n., 2002): an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera esp. for posting on social networks.
social networking (n., 1998): the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships esp. online
spoiler alert (n., 1994): a reviewer’s warning that a plot spoiler is about to be revealed
steampunk (n., 1987): science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology
turducken (n., 1982): a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey
tweep (n., 2008): a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets
unfriend (v., 2003): to remove (someone) from a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking Web site
Yooper (n., 1977): a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — used as a nickname