Merriam-Webster Dictionary Adds ‘Selfie,’ ‘Hashtag,’ Other Terrible Words

Social media terms dominate the 2014 collegiate dictionary update

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 9:48 AM

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.

Also read: ‘Twerking’ Added to Oxford Dictionary (Thanks, Miley Cyrus?)

“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.”

Also read: WTF? OMG, FYI, LOL, WAG Added to Oxford English Dictionary — LMFAO!

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


Looks like you’re enjoying reading
Keep reading by creating
a free account or logging in.