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.

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]

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images
Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock via Getty Images

This Thanksgiving, families across the country will enjoy a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes ... or are they yams? Discussions on the proper name for the orange starchy stuff on your table can get more heated than arguments about topping them with marshmallows. But there's an easy way to tell the difference between sweet potatoes and yams: If you picked up the tuber from a typical American grocery store, it's probably a sweet potato.

So what's a sweet potato?

Sweet potato and yam aren't just different names for the same thing: The two produce items belong to their own separate botanical categories. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family. Regular potatoes like russets, meanwhile, are considered part of the nightshade family, which means that sweet potatoes aren't actually potatoes at all.

Almost all of the foods most Americans think of as yams are really sweet potatoes. The root vegetable typically has brown or reddish skin with a starchy inside that's orange (though it can also be white or purple). It's sold in most supermarkets in the country and used to make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, and the sweet potato casserole you have at Thanksgiving.

Then what's a yam?

Yams.
Yams.
bonchan/iStock via Getty Images

Yams are a different beast altogether. They are more closely related to lilies and grasses and mostly grow in tropical environments. The skin is more rough and bark-like than what you'd see on a sweet potato, and the inside is usually white or yellowish—not orange.

They're a common ingredient in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Because the inside of a yam is less moist than the inside of a sweet potato, they require more fat to make them soft and creamy. They're also less sweet than their orange-hued counterparts. In many regions in the U.S., yams aren't sold outside of international grocery stores.

Where did the mix-up come from?

Also sweet potatoes.
Also sweet potatoes.
Kateryna Bibro/iStock via Getty Images

So if yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different vegetables that don't look or taste that similar, why are their names used interchangeably in the U.S.? You can blame the food industry. For years, "firm" sweet potatoes, which have brown skin and whitish flesh, were the only sweet potatoes grown in the U.S. In the early 20th century, "soft" sweet potatoes, which have reddish skin and deep-orange flesh, entered the scene. Farmers needed a way to distinguish the two varieties, so soft sweet potatoes became yams.

Nearly a century later, the misnomer shows no signs of disappearing. Many American supermarkets still call their orange-fleshed sweet potatoes yams and their white-fleshed ones sweet potatoes, even though both items are sweet potatoes. But this isn't a strict rule, and stores often swap the names and make things even more confusing for shoppers. So the next time you're shopping for a recipe that calls for sweet potatoes, learn to identify them by sight rather than the name on the label.

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