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New Words in the Dictionary

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

You probably have heard it on the news or read it on-line, that the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is adding its annual updated words.  Since the English language is referred to as a “living language” where new words are constantly being made and replaced.  In order to keep the dictionary up to date with all the newest words, Merriam-Webster adds 100 of the most used words to its edition annually.

This year there is quite a controversy on the words chosen for the 2012 update to the dictionary. The hullabaloo surrounds the word F-bomb because of it reference to the four letter F-word.  However, Kory Stamper, the associate editor for Merriam-Webster, lobbied for the word based on its usage and history in the daily language.

Other words that have made the 2012 up-date are:

  • Aha-moment made famous by Oprah

  • E-reader

  • Man cave – thank you HGTV

  • Bucket list

  • Energy drink

  • Earworm- meaning a song that gets stuck in your head.

  • Craft beer

  • Tipping point

  • Game changer

  • Flexitarian –A person who is a vegetarian but sometimes eats meat or fish.

  • Gassed – meaning tired or exhausted

It is amazing that so many words that start out as slang terms end up in the dictionary.   Do you remember when byte, hard drive, and the Internet were just computer geek words?  They, too, eventually made it into the dictionary.  It will be interesting to see what words will show up in the 2013 dictionary up-date.


ITALIE, L. (2012, 8 13). F-bomb, Sexting Among New Words In Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved from, Inc. :

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary:

New 2012 Words Added to Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from Squidoo, LLC :



Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate a

About bigsmileu1

What good is living life if you don't share all the experiences, mistakes, and knowledge you have gained? I am a grandmother, a wife, a mother of two grown children, a Jr. High Teacher for almost two decades, an elementary principal and I want to share my experiences.

16 responses »

  1. Jamie, I believe this is happening in most modern languages. In my native language, Italian, all the street words are making new entries in the dictionary every year.

  2. It is very interesting – though disagree with comment above that its happening in other languages. English is an international language that takes new words ”from the street” other, national languages are allocated their words from their language academies.

    • It really doesn’t matter where the new words come from, in my opinion. If the language is acquiring new words it is alive and kicking. When new words are no longer expanding the language, it will die off. Thanks for your comment and thoughts. Enjoy the day. 🙂

  3. Only “ear worm” was new to me…. never heard that one, before! Every other word has worked its way into my knowledge base. Great post! 🙂

  4. Oprah’s ‘aha moment’…she must feel like she won an award lol Diane


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