Merriam-Webster releases list of new words to be included in dictionary
Thread poster: Roland Lelaj

Roland Lelaj
Local time: 14:31
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Jul 14, 2009

Ed Pilkington in New York,, Thursday 9 July 2009

The irresistible power of the digital revolution to transform everything in its path has been confirmed, lest anyone still doubts it, by one of the arbitors of the English language itself.
Merriam-Webster, the revered publishing house known for its texts on American English, released today a sample of more than 100 new words it has granted entry into its Collegiate dictionary this year. Fully a fifth of them relate to technological innovation.
"Vlog" makes its debut, defined as a blog containing video material, as does "webisode", that is a TV show that can be viewed through a website.
Some old expressions have finally made it into Webster years after they were coined, courtesy of renewed digital interest. So "fan fiction" is traceable back to 1944 but the writing of stories by fans involving popular fictional characters has boomed through posts on the web.
Likewise, the use of "sock puppet" to describe a false identity used for deceptive purposes originated in 1959, but its proliferation on the internet has given it new life. And "flash mobs" (1987) - crowds that descend on a designated location to perform an event have now become so common thanks to email and text message, that the phrase has now earned its place in the dictionary.
Merriam-Webster, a Massachusetts company, has produced dictionaries dating back Noah Webster's 1828 An American Dictionary of the English Language.
Given the global spread of the American form of English, the influence of the Webster's dictionary over the evolution of the language is arguably even greater than that of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Webster himself was a great believer in keeping things simple, and it was his idea to "Americanise" many of the spellings that now distinguish the American and English forms of the language. He dropped the "u" from colour and favour and turned centre into center.
That unashamed Americanisation is evident in this year's new words, which will have traditionalists squirming. They include "staycation" for a holiday spent at home and "frenemy" for one who pretends to be a friend but is in fact an enemy.
The green revolution also makes a strong showing, with "locavore" for a person who eats only locally-grown food; carbon footprint as a measure of one's carbon emmissions; and green-collar, referring to jobs designed to help the environment.

Other newcomers
The small, dark purple, berrylike fruit found in central and south
America has been known by this word since 1868 but its place in the
dictionary has been forced by a recent fad that claims it is an aid to

A big year for berries all round, with the dark red mildly tart bruit
of a mainly Asian shrub making its entry thanks to its new popularity as a
flavour in drinks

Items, usually foods, forbidden under Islamic law

Memory foam
Another recent fad, this time for a mattress that supposedly
remembers the shape of your back

One of several new words relating to health and medicine,
it refers to drugs that protect neurons from injury or degeneration

Another fusion word, in this case relating to the union of rap
and Caribbean rhythms in popular Puerto Rican music


Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
Japanese to English
Memory foam Jul 14, 2009

I thought "memory foam" was just another of the undocumented behaviours of the new Trados release...

I've been flavouring my own drinks with homegrown 'goji' recently, but I prefer the non-marketing name 'wolfberry'.


Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to Japanese
+ ...
Flash mob Jul 14, 2009

I didn't know that flash mob dated back to 1987. I thought it was one of those newcomers, since the term was submitted by the Glossary Building Team at KudoZ last year.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Merriam-Webster releases list of new words to be included in dictionary

Advanced search

SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search