25 Brand-New Words Added to the Dictionary for 2019
Merriam-Webster added over 600 new words to the dictionary this year. You’ll find old words with new meanings on the list too.
On a molecular level, snowflakes are all basically the same, even though you may think they’re each unique and special. Snowflake also has a few definitions beyond, “a flake or crystal of snow.” The term has become disparaging slang for both someone treated as precious and special or one who thinks they should be treated as such. Yes, snowflake is a grand insult. If you are called this term, the user thinks you’re too sensitive or that you find yourself precious. It works the other way around, too—get a look at these 11 words and phrases that used to be insults but are now compliments.
Gotta get those clicks! A page view is a compound term of the Internet age. Page view is an example of “lexicalization,” because it’s a phrase that now expresses a concept: “an instance of a user viewing an individual page or website.” Page views are crucial because they insinuate engagement with info that’s on a web page or site. Check out these reasons why some English words have silent letters.
The gig economy means that work comes from freelance, part-time, or contract jobs or gigs. While a gig economy offers lots of flexibility for workers, it does not provide the stability and assured growth that secure, full-time positions used to do. Coined in 2019, Merriam-Webster offers that the gig economy uses temps or freelancers, “primarily in the service sector.” However, over 70 percent of academic teaching positions are now part-time, temporary, or adjunct, and the gig economy affects many other sectors as well. This is how words get added to the dictionary.
Sure, that annoying fly in the room is buzzy, but there’s also the good kind of buzz. That’s the generated, cultural attention and interest in a movie, TV show, book, or really anything with mass market appeal before it hits the public. You’ve heard of generating buzz, but an example of something that is currently buzzy is Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars land coming to Disneyland and World. Fans and stans, and the general public are abuzz, buzzy with talk, press, and Twitter, about all the deets. And we are, too; here’s a first look at Disney’s Star Wars Edge.
Merriam-Webster defines this term, as “capable of being absorbed by living tissue.” That sounds like the plot of The Blob, but it actually refers to pretty innovative surgical techniques. Sutures, stents, and various other devices can be made of harmless, bioabsorbable materials that are far less invasive than metal pieces or previously-used methods. If you like these new dictionary additions, check out these 13 words from the first dictionary that no longer exist.
Do you work out? If so, you probably look swole. The term basically derives from swelling or swollen, but it’s a positive adjective used to describe top-notch or particularly aesthetic musculature. As in, Robert Pattinson as the new Batman is looking swole. In the mood for more interesting vocab? Here are 20 words that are their own opposites.
Very few people have achieved peak EGOT—the ultimate threshold for performance accomplishment. Only 15 performers have reached it so far, and that list includes Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, Whoopi Goldberg, and Mel Brooks. However, there are 40 performers on deck to become EGOT with just one more win. The term is an acronym using the first letters of the awards Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Once you win one of each, you’ve got an EGOT.
People have always been gender non-conforming—that is, they have exhibited gender traits that subvert or redo what’s considered conventional and socially acceptable. The term was first used in 1991 but is now gaining mainstream understanding and use, especially since the language is increasingly employed, along with the term transgender, to accept and protect gender non-conforming people.
Peak was merely the tip of a mountain or a pointy end before it hit peak slang by making it into the Merriam-Webster. To be peak means to be at or beyond the totality of whatever is being described. Beyonce and Lady Gaga display peak diva daily, but you can also be peak gaming, peak stanning (see below if you don’t know what this means), or simply peak millennial. That’s when you’ve perfected your avocado jam dog treat recipe. Basically, it’s when you’ve reached the ultimate level. Apply as needed: peak unicorn, peak couch potato, peak whatever. Slang overload? Here are 16 words you should stop saying ASAP.
Stans have been around as long as celebrities, but this term for an obsessive and over-the-top groupie just made it into the dictionary. Way back in 2000, Eminem (of rap fame) had a song about an extremely devoted fan, “Stan.” And the term was born. Merriam-Webster notes that it’s often used in a “disparaging” way, but that’s usually in the form of self-awareness about a star or franchise’s epic greatness and the known insanity (instanity?!) of adoring it. Consider the way Game of Thrones stans still obsess over various dragon minutiae even though the series has ended.