No need to study this month to increase your vocabulary. Merriam-Webster added 840 new words to the dictionary – and chances are, you probably know many of them.
A bulk of the new entries are already widely used, but a few additions will horrify old-school grammarians.
“Rando,” “adorbs” and “fav” are now sanctioned words. Blended words such as “mocktail” or “hangry” (hungry + angry) have made it in their own right. But possibly the most outlandish is “TL;DR,” which is shorthand for “too long; didn’t read.”
“The addition of new words to a dictionary is a step in the continuous process of recording our ever-expanding language,” said Merriam-Webster in a statement. “The dictionary’s job is to report that usage as it enters the general vocabulary.”
Many of the new words were driven by technological change – terms like “Instagramming,” “airplane mode” and “force quit” will sound familiar to most smartphone users.
Another common theme is food. According to Merriam-Webster, food-related words account for the bulk of foreign words that are accepted into the English language. For example, the dictionary is adding “iftar,” which is the sunset meal that breaks the daily fast during Ramadan, and “gochujang,” a type of Korean chili paste.
Food abbreviations are also abundant – “marg” for margarita, “guac” for guacamole and “avo” for avocado won’t help much in Scrabble, but they will make it easier to write a grammatically correct grocery list.
The dictionary updates reflect societal changes and prevalent issues as well. “Self-harm” highlights the prevalence of mental health issues, and “Latinx” gives a gender neutral substitute for Latina or Latino.
TL;DR: You can thank Merriam-Webster for the vocabulary boost.