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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