Language purists will have to get real cool with internet buzzwords and slangs those « darn kids » make up really quickly, because Merriam-Webster has legitimized a bunch by adding them to its dictionary. The addition of « metaverse » comes as no surprise, seeing as companies like Facebook have been all about the virtual environment recently in meatspace. Yes, « meatspace » is a term now used to describe physical space and environment. « Altcoin » has also been added to describe alternatives to established cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
People have been saying « laggy » and « pwn » for a very, very long time now, but now those words have their own pages on the dictionary’s website. And those who want to tell someone on the internet that they’re « virtue signaling » or « greenwashing » something can now simply link them to those terms.
When the game Among Us rose in popularity, so did the slang « sus, » which means suspicious or suspect, so it’s not a mystery why Merriam-Webster has officially recognized it. The word « lewk, » as in fashion looks, is now officially a word, as well. We hope nobody « cringes » or « yeets » whatever it is they’re holding, but « adorkable » has also been added to the dictionary. (Yep, « cringe » and « yeet » get their own dictionary entries, too.)
The list of new words includes additions that clearly illustrate how these past years have gone for everyone. « Booster dose, » which became a commonly uttered phrase because of the pandemic, gets its own Merriam-Webster page, so do « false positive » and « false negative » lab test results. The words « shrinkflation, » the practice of reducing a product’s amount or volume while offering it at the same price, and « side hustle » are also part of the list and will serve as reminders for years to come about the state of the economy in 2022.
Merriam-Webster has posted the full list of new words, which also include some delicious entries like « pumpkin spice » and « birria, » on its website.
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