Swole, buzzy, on-brand and stan are among the 640 new words that were just added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Deciding what gets included is a painstaking process involving roughly two dozen lexicographers, said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large. They scan online versions of newspapers, magazines, academic journals, books and even movie and television scripts until they detect what he calls “a critical mass” of usage that warrants inclusion.
The latest additions include mostly new words, or phrases, but also some old words with new meanings or applications. Popular culture —movies, TV and sports — is a common source of new words, such as buzzy , an adjective that literally means creating a buzz, such as a “buzzy new movie.” Some of the words have been around for decades, but are included in the dictionary because of increased usage.
With the rapid advance of science, many new words come from the fields of technology and medicine. Gender non-conforming and salutogenesis and are among some of the terms added from the fields of science and medicine. In the internet age when it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to is accurate, the dictionary is a rock, Sokolowski said.
We discuss the new words and the evolution of language. Any questions? Call us at 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster; he tweets @PeterSokolowski
Jean Berko Gleason, psycholinguist and professor emerita at Boston University