Mansplain, Dumpster Fire: The Dictionary Just Got (850 Words) Bigger


Kombucha, a fermented tea that originated in China, seen for sale at a store in Washington, D.C. Merriam-Webster added the word kombucha to its online dictionary this month. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

If you're a kombucha-loving, chiweenie-owning wordie with a penchant for life hacks and hate-watching dumpster fires like "The Bachelor," you might have already discovered Merriam-Webster's newest batch of words and definitions (you might also just be a normal adult who owns a cool dog).

The 187-year-old vocab authority recently added 850 new terms to its online dictionary at Merriam-Webster.com "from a cross-section of our linguistic culture." In addition to the keywords mentioned above (which, if you're curious, refer to fermented tea, a Chihuahua/dachshund mix, a word enthusiast, a clever tip or technique, watching/taking pleasure in laughing at or criticizing, and a disaster — in that order), word nerds will find all kinds of fun terms to colorfully describe our modern world.

According to Merriam-Webster, the food world serves as the richest source of new terms, giving us entries like harissa (a spicy North African paste made with chilis), tzatziki (a Greek yogurt sauce made with cucumbers and garlic) and kabocha (a kind of Japanese pumpkin). For whatever inexcusable reason, dark chocolate wasn't in the dictionary until this most recent revamp, but confection connoisseurs are undoubtedly grateful for the addition.

The tech world influenced a big portion of the recent additions as well. "Silicon Valley" fans (or those who actually live in Silicon Valley) might already be familiar with everything from cryptocurrency (any form of currency that only exists digitally) and an initial coin offering (the first sale of Bitcoin-like digital currency). But now they can throw those terms around in casual conversation and get away with it (maybe). And while everyone knows the mythical, magical, Lisa Frank variety of unicorn, the dictionary now has a separate definition for the tech species of unicorn (a startup that's valued at $ 1 billion or more).

Dumpster fire earns a special place in my heart as the top newly legitimized term, but embiggen (to make bigger), subtweet (a mocking tweet alluding to another Twitter user without @-ing them), and mansplain (to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic) all made the dictionary, too. And you can thank our reliance on texting for the batch of words(?) meant to be approximations of speech like hmm, ooh, mm-hmm and welp.

"Welp, the English language sure has become a dumpster fire," said wordies everywhere.


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