A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Chef’s Kiss, Doggo, GOATED and 21 Other Words Added to the Dictionary for 2023

Updated: Oct. 03, 2023

Merriam-Webster is giving the dictionary a little "zhuzh" with its latest update

2023 Dictionary New Words Ft Gettyimages 1271161547

Our favorite new words of 2023

The English language is anything but boring—and we’re not just saying that because we’re word nerds. Far from being staid and stuffy, it is constantly evolving as new terms make their way into our everyday lexicon. Think about it: Just a few decades ago, words like laptop, caffeinate and bling didn’t even exist … but now it’s hard to imagine life without them. Every year, dictionaries add hundreds of words to their pages and online databases, turning those newfangled new words into official entries.

Well, Merriam-Webster is at it again, adding 690 brand-new words, phrases and acronyms to the dictionary for 2023. You’ll recognize some from the internet, others from the news and still others from popular TV shows. But to make the cut, a professional lexicographer evaluated them and deemed them widespread and worthy enough for inclusion. If these words become obsolete someday, lexicographers may decide to remove them from the dictionary.

But for now, they’re here for us to giggle over, use and enjoy. Here’s what you need to add to your vocabulary this year, if you haven’t already.

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2023 Dictionary New Words Beast Mode Gettyimages 660855402

Beast mode

Heading to the gym for a hard-core workout? Ready to tackle a home-improvement project that will have you flexing your muscles? You are about to enter beast mode. According to Merriam-Webster, this term describes “an extremely aggressive or energetic style or manner that someone (such as an athlete) adopts temporarily (as to overpower an opponent in a fight or competition).” You could also use it to describe someone else, like an actor in an intense fight scene or gladiators from the Roman Empire (which, apparently, people think about with bizarre frequency).


Sports fans will know this one! Bracketology is “the practice or study of predicting the participants in or outcomes of elimination tournaments or competitions, especially in NCAA college basketball.” It is also something you engage in during a fantasy football or basketball draft. FYI, this word has been around for a while—appearing in published writing since the 1990s—even though it only just made its way into the dictionary this year.

Chef’s kiss

When a meal looks and tastes utterly delicious, words might fail you. But a chef’s kiss—as an air kiss, an emoji or a spoken phrase—is the highest compliment. What’s the proper way to make this gesture of satisfaction and approval? “By kissing the fingertips of one hand and then spreading the fingers with an outward motion,” according to Merriam-Webster’s official definition.


If you’ve ever watched The Bear, then you know calling someone “chef” is a sign of respect for their hard work in the kitchen. If someone is being “cheffy,” they are showing qualities “characteristic of or befitting a professional chef (as in showiness, complexity, or exotic news).”


In a case of life imitating art, this term comes to us straight from The Simpsons. Yes, you read that right. So what does it mean? Cromulent refers to something that’s “acceptable or satisfactory.” And here’s a fun bit of pop-culture trivia: It’s not the first term from The Simpsons to appear in Merriam-Webster. That honor goes to embiggen, which was added in 2018 and means “to enlarge or expand.” Looking further back, check out the words coined the year you were born.

2023 Dictionary New Words Doggo Gettyimages 1390695291


A dog isn’t just a dog or even “man’s best friend” anymore. If you want to get really cute, you need a pet name for your pet. And, of course, that’s where doggo comes in. Interestingly, this term originally referred to something remaining “motionless and quiet to escape detection” in the early 19th century. Some speculate it might have referred to a sleeping dog, so it’s fitting that society has now fully embraced this moniker.


Sometimes you just want to enjoy social media in peace without anyone knowing who you are, or engage in an online community without making it your entire personality. That’s why you need a finsta, a “secret or incognito account on the Instagram photo-sharing service.” Scratching your head at the name? Look a little closer: It’s a combination of fake and Insta. We love a good contraction—and apparently, so does Merriam-Webster!


You’ve probably heard the term GOAT in reference to a sports player or a pop star who’s deemed the “greatest of all time.” (Looking at you, Serena Williams!) This related adjective describes an experience or person “considered to be the greatest of all time.” If you’re still not sure how to use it in a sentence, Merriam-Webster offers this example: “Sometimes the most unexpected casting choices for comic book movies are the most GOATED.”


Looking at an amazing view on vacation or a delectable dish at a restaurant? These types of moments are grammable, or “suitable to be posted on Instagram.” Not sure your shot is worthy of the ‘gram? Grammable pics tend to be beautiful, funny, nostalgic or noteworthy enough to want to share with a wider audience, so it’s really up to you! By the way, if you need an Instagram caption to go with that vacation pic, we’ve got you covered.

Jump scare

Ever watch a horror film and find yourself literally jumping out of your seat, like when the murderer with the bloody hatchet pops out of nowhere or the alien curls its gangly fingers swiftly around the door frame? This is officially known as a jump scare, a “scripted moment (as in film or video game) intended to startle the audience.”

2023 Dictionary New Words Jorts Gettyimages 1460572549


We love to mash together the names of things we love (think: Brangelina, chillaxing and romcom). It’s called a portmanteau, and jorts is our latest favorite. What is it, exactly? A combination of jeans and shorts, or “shorts made of denim or jean.” Yes, we could just call them jeans shorts, like we have for years, but we’ll let Merriam-Webster have its moment.


Sure, you’ve heard of a NERF gun before, but the non-trademarked, lower-cased term nerf has a different meaning. It’s a gaming term based on the idea of NERF guns: To nerf is “to reduce the effectiveness of (something, such as a character, attribute, or weapon) in a video game.” In the same way using a NERF gun softens the blow because of its foam ammo, to nerf something in a game is to dull the power that it has.


Move over LOL, LMAO and IJBOL. It’s time to make room for NGL, shorthand for “not gonna lie.” In a sentence, you could write “ngl” before admitting something. Maybe a juicy piece of gossip? We won’t tell.


Passwords are so yesterday. These days, you likely use your fingerprint or face so you don’t have to plug in those pesky numbers, and that’s called—you guessed it—a passkey. Technically speaking, it’s “an authentication method that uses biometrics (such as a fingerprint or facial recognition) to identify and grant access to an authorized user.”

Rage quit

Sometimes work pushes you over the edge, with unrealistic deadlines, toxic bosses and unfair compensation. When that happens, you might snap and, “in a fit of anger or frustration,” rage quit. If you manage to contain your anger until you have another gig lined up, you might start rage applying instead. (That one’s not in the dictionary just yet, but it’s another recent trend, so it might be soon!)

2023 Dictionary New Words Rizz Gettyimages 1445794858


Not to be confused with razz, which means to tease playfully, rizz is a slang term that refers to a person who has “romantic appeal or charm.” Are they the smoldering type who always knows what to say to make you melt? That person definitely has rizz!


Nope, this isn’t just about the burger chain—although it is delicious! A smashburger refers to “a hamburger patty that is pressed thin onto a heated pan or griddle at the start of cooking.” Smashburgers can also be cooked with thinly sliced onions directly on the pan, a different burger-cooking technique that originated in Oklahoma City.


Also known as “SMS phishing,” smishing refers to a fraudulent practice of sending texts pretending to be a reputable brand or company in order to get users to reveal personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers. Ever have some random number reach out pretending to be Costco or Facebook, asking for your information? It’s likely part of some kind of smishing scheme.


The abbreviation TFW stands for “that feeling when,” but it’s really used to help portray a feeling or an emotion that someone experiences during a particular moment. For example, someone may write “TFW you sip on your first pumpkin spice latte of the season” in a fall caption to portray glee and cozy vibes—and everyone will instantly know what they mean.

Thirst trap

You may have moments that are sweet and grammable … and you may also have some photos that are steamy and, well, thirsty. A thirst trap is defined as “a photograph (such as a selfie) or video shared for the purpose of attracting attention or desire.” For example, pictures of Kim Kardashian looking inviting in a bikini on the beach, Zac Efron showing off his six-pack or Martha Stewart posing with a cup of coffee while wearing an apron, a come-hither look and nothing else. (Yes, at the age of 82!)

2023 Dictionary New Words Tiny House Gettyimages 1407022466

Tiny house

This is exactly what it sounds like: “a small house or mobile home that typically has a floor plan of less than 500 square feet and that is usually designed for ergonomics and space efficiency.” Pinterest and Instagram are filled with these gorgeous, meticulously organized and super small homes, and while you might not want to live the tiny-house lifestyle, it’s completely fascinating to watch others do it!


Probably one of the oldest and most overused phrases dating back to the days of T9-texting and AIM, TTYL is shorthand for “talk to you later.” It’s another easy way to end a conversation online without having to fully type out goodbye. Plus, why say goodbye when you know you’re going to talk to your bestie again in a few hours?


We all know what a UFO is. But a UAP is a more general term that describes an “unidentified aerial phenomenon,” not an unidentified flying object (which tends to conjure up images of little green men). This new term refers to any flying object that is unexplained by NASA or government projects, and is typically associated with otherworldly activity, like aliens. This has been in the news over the past few months, as a former Pentagon official told Congress that UAPs are not only real but that the government has been withholding information about them.


When a dish, an outfit or your writing needs a little more oomph or extra sparkle, it needs some zhuzh. This “small improvement, adjustment, or addition that completes the overall look, taste, etc. of something” can be a dash of cinnamon in your latte, a riff at the end of a song or a pun that spices up a dull headline. Bonus: You can also zhuzh up any of those situations and use our favorite new word as a verb!


  • Merriam-Webster: “690 New Words and Definitions Added to Merriam-Webster”