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FWIW Official New Words

 Just ICYMI and FWIW, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary recently added 370 words last week and the acronyms in this sentence are two new words.  ICYMI abbreviates in case you missed it; FWIW is for what it’s worth.  How are words added to a dictionary that’s been around since 1828? 

According to https://www.merriam-webster.com, words that people use in the same way over a long period of time are included.  Lexicographers keep track of all types of words: slang, professional, educational, technical and words used in everyday conversations.  Those everyday conversations include texts where people have coined abbreviations.

            The categories of new words range from banking to fun to health to the natural world to out of this world.  Those who love fall will be glad to know that pumpkin spice is now an official word: a mixture of usually cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and often allspice that is commonly used in pumpkin pie.  The dictionary definition doesn’t include other foods and drinks, but pumpkin is a fall flavor for everything from pasta to coffee.

         When you read mojo in a recipe or on a menu, it’s a sauce, marinade, or seasoning made from olive oil, garlic, citrus juice, black pepper, and possibly cumin.  Haven’t we used mojo to refer to a sense of being?  When someone loses his mojo, he’s lost his charm, his positive vibes, his confidence.

         Three new words are pandemic words:  booster dose, false negative, and false positive.  ICYMI, false positive is a person or test result that is incorrectly classified as positive (as for the presence of a health condition) because of imperfect testing methods or procedures.  I wonder if these words will be used ten years from now.

         Somehow, I missed Galentine’s Day, a holiday observed on February 13th to celebrate friendships, especially among women.  It’s on my 2023 calendar.  Next spring when the ground is muddy, soaked with rain, I’ll know the official word to describe that time of year is mud-season.

         Many of us have held a second job to supplement the income of a primary job.  The word to describe that work is side hustle, a synonym of moonlighting.

         We’ve used the word smartphone since 1996 and now dumbphone, a cell phone that’s used only to make phone calls, is officially a word.

            Have you ever enjoyed a dawn chorus?  It’s the singing of wild birds before and following sunrise.

            My favorite new words are slang.  Macgyver means to make or repair something with whatever you have.  Husband can Macgyver almost anything.  Janky is a word to describe something of poor quality.  So, something that falls apart isn’t just a piece of junk, it’s janky.

Lewk is a fashion look distinctive to the wearer that is noticed and remembered by others.  Last week when I did some people watching at airports, I saw lewks that made me stare, even though I was taught that staring is rude.

Check out the dictionary website to learn other new words, such as greenwash and terraform.  You might fritter away the morning, just as I’ve done.


2 Responses

  1. I love to know the official words for the sweet singing of birds in the morning- dawn chorus! Perfect. Loved this column. Teri


  2. Interesting!


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