From social media to social justice, modern language is changing – and fast.
Dictionary.com added 313 new words (like petfluencer) to the lexicon in its latest release on Feb. 28, along with 130 new definitions to existing words (like hellscape) and revised definitions for 1,140 words.
"Our lexicographers observe it all, documenting language change wherever it’s happening and defining the terms that help us to understand our times," Dictionary.com said in a blog post. "The most recent additions to Dictionary.com come from just about everywhere, spanning the multiverse-like complexity of modern life: they are at once serious… amusing … and everything in between."
According to dictionary.com, there are four criteria for a word to be added:
- It’s a word used by a lot of people.
- It’s used by those people mostly in the same way.
- It has staying power.
- It's useful for a general audience.
What are the new entries on Dictionary.com?
Here’s a look at some of the hundreds of new entries in the online dictionary:
- Cakeism: noun. "the false belief that one can enjoy the benefits of two choices that are in fact mutually exclusive, or have it both ways."
- Abrosexual: adjective. "noting or relating to a person whose sexual orientation is fluid or fluctuates over time."
- Hellscape: noun. a" place or time that is hopeless, unbearable, or irredeemable. This word is not at all new (records date to the late 1890s), but use has massively increased in recent years."
- Petfluencer: noun. "a person who gains a large following on social media by posting entertaining images or videos of their cat, dog, or other pet. The term is also sometimes used to refer to the animal featured in such content. Our lexicographers expect the ending -fluencer (from influencer) to be used in more compound terms (another example is grandfluencer)."
- Deadass: adverb. Slang. "genuinely, sincerely, or truly; in fact. Example: I’m deadass about to quote that speech to you."
- Bedwetting noun. Informal. "Often Disparaging. exhibition of emotional overreaction, as anxiety or alarm, to events, especially major decisions or outcomes. Example: No doubt the executive order will be received by environmentalists with the usual bedwetting."
- Liminal space: noun. "a state or place characterized by being transitional or intermediate in some way. noun. Informal. any location that is unsettling, uncanny, or dreamlike. Example: The classroom when school is out for the summer is a liminal space."
- Pinkwashing: noun. "an instance or practice of acknowledging and promoting the civil liberties of the LGBTQ+ community, but superficially, as a ploy to divert attention from allegiances and activities that are in fact hostile to such liberties."
- Queerbaiting: noun. Slang. "a marketing technique involving intentional homoeroticism or suggestions of LGBTQ+ themes intended to draw in an LGBTQ+ audience, without explicit inclusion of openly LGBTQ+ relationships, characters, or people."
- Woke: adjective. "Disparaging. of or relating to a liberal progressive orthodoxy, especially promoting inclusive policies or ideologies that welcome or embrace ethnic, racial, or sexual minorities."
You can see the full list here.