‘Deep State,’ ‘Bechdel Test’ Among 500 New Words Added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Dad joke” made the cut, too

Last Updated: September 17, 2019 @ 9:39 AM

Merriam-Webster Dictionary has added over 500 new words, according to an announcement on Tuesday, which includes “deep state,” “dad joke” and “Bechdel test.

There are 533 new words, with some existing words receiving new definitions. There were more than 4,000 other revisions to definitions, etymologies, pronunciations, and dates of first known use, according to Merriam-Webster.

The dictionary defines the “deep state” as “an alleged secret governmental network operating extralegally. It may feel as though the term has been around since the time when men wore fedoras in Washington, but current evidence dates it only to the dawn of the current century.”

Additionally, Merriam-Webster said that the Bechdel test “refers to a set of criteria used to evaluate a movie or other work of fiction on the basis of its inclusion and representation of female characters.”

Want to know what a “dad joke” is? It’s defined like this now: “[A] wholesome joke of the type said to be told by fathers with a punchline that is often an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny.”

“New words are a happy fact of life for a living language, and taking careful stock of the words that we use is an important part of the work of dictionary editors,” Merriam-Webster said. “Words can come and go in a language, but those that show staying power and increasing use need to be recorded and described. In other words: they need definitions.”

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