53 Modern Words Recently Added to the Dictionary

iStock.com/Pglam
iStock.com/Pglam

The Oxford Dictionary Online is a warehouse of over 100,000 words. Despite this large arsenal, we continue to coin, clip, and blend new words into existence, and the Oxford folks pump some of these new words into their dictionaries. Here are some more recent additions with their official definitions.

1. Anthropocene (adj) : Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. (Noun: The Anthropocene.)

2. Anytown (n): A real or fictional place regarded as being typical of a small U.S. town.

3. Autotune (n): A device or facility for tuning something automatically, especially a computer program which enables the correction of an out-of-tune vocal performance.

4. Badassery (n): Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive.

5. Big Data (n): Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

6. Binge-Watch (v): Watch multiple episodes of (a television program) in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

7. Buzzworthy (adj): Likely to arouse the interest and attention of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.

8. Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.

Platinum rings on shattered glass 
Some platinum rings, or bling
iStock.com/manley099

9. Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.

10. Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.

11. Crunk (adj): Very excited or full of energy.

12. DIY (adj and n): The activity of decorating, building, and making repairs at home by oneself rather than employing a professional.

13. D'oh (ex): Exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.

14. Droolworthy (adj): Extremely attractive or desirable.

15. Fatberg (n): A very large mass of solid waste in a sewerage system, consisting especially of congealed fat and personal hygiene products that have been flushed down toilets.

16. Frankenfood (n): Genetically modified food.

17. Geekfest (n): A gathering of geeks, especially one devoted to technical discussions; a single ongoing activity that is particularly appealing to geeks.

18. Grrrl (n): A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality.

19. Guyliner (n): Eyeliner that is worn by men.

A young man wearing guyliner
A young man wearing guyliner
iStock.com/Image Source

20. Hater (n): A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

21. Illiterati (n): People who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.

22. Infomania (n): The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.

23. Jeggings (n): Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

24. La-la Land (n): A fanciful state or dream world. Also, Los Angeles.

26. Listicle (n): A piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.

27. Locavore (n): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

A basket of kale
Locally grown kale, perfect for locavores
iStock.com/:alice dias didszoleit

28. Mankini (n): A brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

29. Mansplain (v): (of a man) Explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

30. Microaggression (n): A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.

31. Mini-Me (n): A person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

32. Muffin Top (n): A roll of fat visible above the top of a pair of women’s tight-fitting low-waisted trousers.

33. Muggle (n): A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

34. Noob (n): A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the internet.

35. Obvs (adv): Obviously.

36. OMG (ex): Used to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief. (Dates back to 1917.)

37. Po-po (n): The police.

38. Purple State (n): A U.S. state where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters.

39. Screenager (n): A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the internet.

40. Sexting (n): The sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

41. Textspeak (n): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons. (wut hpns win u write lyk dis.)

42. Totes (adv): Totally.

43. Truthiness (n): the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

44. Twerk (v): Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.

45. Twitterati (n): Keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter.

46. Unfriend (v): Remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site.

47. Upcycle (v): Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

48. Vlog (n): A personal website or social media account where a person regularly posts short videos.

49. Whatevs (ex, adv): Whatever.

50. Whovian (n): A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.

51. Woot (ex): (Especially in electronic communication) Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph.

Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 
Yarn-bombing in Bath, Somerset, UK 
iStock.com/Ian_Redding

52. Yarn-Bomb (v): Cover (an object or structure in a public place) with decorative knitted or crocheted material, as a form of street art.

53. YouTuber (n): A person who uploads, produces, or appears in videos on the video-sharing website YouTube.

This piece was updated in 2019.

What's the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

iStock
iStock

For carbohydrate lovers, nothing completes a Thanksgiving meal quite like stuffing—shovelfuls of bread, celery, mushrooms, and other ingredients that complement all of that turkey protein.

Some people don’t say stuffing, though. They say dressing. In these calamitous times, knowing how to properly refer to the giant glob of insulin-spiking bread seems necessary. So what's the difference?

Let’s dismiss one theory off the bat: Dressing and stuffing do not correlate with how the side dish is prepared. A turkey can be stuffed with dressing, and stuffing can be served in a casserole dish. Whether it’s ever seen the inside of a bird is irrelevant, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong and should be met with suspicion, if not outright derision.

The terms are actually separated due to regional dialects. Dressing seems to be the favored descriptor for southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, while stuffing is preferred by Maine, New York, and other northern areas. (Some parts of Pennsylvania call it filling, which is a bit too on the nose, but to each their own.)

If stuffing stemmed from the common practice of filling a turkey with carbs, why the division? According to HuffPost, it may have been because Southerners considered the word stuffing impolite, and therefore never embraced it.

While you should experience no material difference in asking for stuffing or dressing, when visiting relatives it might be helpful to keep to their regionally-preferred word to avoid confusion. Enjoy stuffing yourselves.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Uitwaaien, or Outblowing, Is the Dutch Cure for the Winter Blues

sergio_kumer/iStock via Getty Images
sergio_kumer/iStock via Getty Images

Hygge, a Danish philosophy that's recently caught on in the U.S., is all about feeling cozy and relaxed indoors when the weather is cold outside. Uitwaaien takes the opposite approach to winter. Dutch for "outblowing," uitwaaien involves doing physical activity, like going for a brisk jog, in chilly, windy weather. It may lack the warmth and fuzziness of hygge, but many Dutch people swear by its energizing effects.

The practice known as uitwaaien has roots in the Netherlands going back at least a century, Nautilus reports. The name comes from the concept of replacing "bad air" with "good air." While there may not be a lot of science to support that idea, exercise does have scientifically proven benefits, such as boosting energy and lowering stress. And while spending 30 minutes on a treadmill in a stuffy gym can leave you feeling sweaty and gross, running outside in the wind can be refreshing and exhilarating.

There's another benefit of uitwaaien: It's an excuse to get outside during a time of year when you'd normally be cooped up indoors. Research shows that being out in nature can enhance our creativity, sharpen our focus, and help us feel more relaxed. And if temperatures are too low for your comfort, a few minutes of cardio is the best way to warm up quickly.

Still need motivation to exercise in the cold? Think of it this way: Every minute of uitwaaien you take part in will make your hygge time that much sweeter. Here are some ways to practice hygge in your home this season.

[h/t Nautilus]

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