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WTF?! 1700 new terms added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

Terms for dancing, super-comfortable jeans and hot sauce all now have a place in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
/ Source: TODAY

Merriam-Webster has given the final seal of approval to over 1,700 words most of us have been using for years by adding them to the official unabridged American dictionary.

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Sriracha hot chili sauce.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

The terms skew toward internet and social media usage, from acronyms (NSFW, WTF) to actions (photobomb) to digital headlines (clickbait) to images (emoji). But they also reflect animal discoveries (colossal squid), cookies (macaron) and hot sauce (sriracha), as well as dubious fashion choices (jeggings).

Associate editor Emily Brewster noted on M-W's blog that in addition to the new entries, existing entries have expanded "by more than 700 new senses."

It takes some time for dictionaries to catch up to popular word usage; many terms fall in and out of fashion and never get caught in the net (unlike, say, a colossal squid). Check out an abridged version of some of our favorites:


First used: 1997

M-W meaning: "any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc."

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform "Blurred Lines" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards in New York
Miley Cyrus does her twerking thing at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with Robin Thicke.LUCAS JACKSON / Reuters


First used: Not stated

M-W meaning: "sexually suggestive dancing characterized by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks, especially while squatting"

Vocal Fry

First used: 1963

M-W meaning: "a vocal effect produced by very slow vibration of the vocal cords and characterized by a creaking sound and low pitch"

Benedict Cumberbatch photobombs U2 at the 86th Annual Academy Awards
Benedict Cumberbatch photobombs U2 at the 2014 Oscars.Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images


First used: Not stated

M-W meaning: "to move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank"

"Whatever they do or are, all of them are members of this vibrant, expanding language we share," wrote Brewster. "And now they’re part of 'Merriam-Webster Unabridged' too."

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