Dictionaries do their best to keep up with our rapidly changing language by adding new terms and definitions on a regular basis. Earlier this month, Dictionary.com announced its latest additions, which featured everything from jawn to nepo baby.
Now, it’s Merriam-Webster’s turn. The recent update includes a whopping 690 terms from various parts of life. It’s always especially fun to find out which slang terms earned spots in such a highly esteemed dictionary, and this round didn’t disappoint: rizz, bussin’, finsta, and thirst trap all made the cut.
That said, trying to capture all the nuances of how we use each slang term in one concise definition is pretty tough. Girlboss, for example, is described simply as “an ambitious and successful woman (especially a businesswoman or entrepreneur).” If you want a better understanding of the many subtle ways it might be deployed as a backhanded compliment or an outright insult, Urban Dictionary can help you out. Other terms don’t require a second source. Doggo just means “dog.” Jorts is a portmanteau of jean shorts.
Gone are the days when Padawan referred only to a young Jedi apprentice in Star Wars. Merriam-Webster just formalized it as a common noun used for any “young person especially when regarded as naïve, inexperienced, etc.”
Cromulent, a made-up word from The Simpsons that means “acceptable” or “satisfactory,” finally gained an entry, too. It’s not the first fake Simpsons word to make it into a dictionary: Merriam-Webster added embiggen back in 2018.
See 25 of the new additions below, and find out more about the update here.
“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)”
“The practice or study of predicting the outcome of elimination tournaments or competitions especially in NCAA college basketball”
“Extremely good ... delicious, tasty”
“A gesture of satisfaction or approval made by kissing the fingertips of one hand and then spreading the fingers with an outward motion—often used interjectionally”
“To shop for rare, vintage, or obscure recordings especially by searching through crates of secondhand merchandise”
“A noninteractive video sequence that occurs between segments of a video game and depicts part of the game's background or storyline”
“To spend excessive time online scrolling through news or other content that makes one feel sad, anxious, angry, etc.”
“A slightly bitter cracker or chip popular in Indonesia that is made from the dried flattened seed of a melinjo tree”
“A secret or incognito account on the Instagram photo-sharing service”
“A toxic substance and especially a synthetic chemical ... that persists and accumulates in the environment”
“An ambitious and successful woman (especially a businesswoman or entrepreneur)”
“Considered to be the greatest of all time”
“A West African dish of rice cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and onions seasoned usually with garlic, thyme, hot pepper, and other spices and often accompanied by meat, fish, or vegetables”
“A scripted moment (as in a film or video game) intended to startle the audience”
“An area adjacent to a skating rink where figure skaters wait for their marks immediately after performing in a competition”
“A character in a video game that does not represent and cannot be manipulated by a player [or] a character in a role-playing board game, card game, or live-action game that is controlled or performed by an organizer, facilitator, or supporting participant”
“A young person especially when regarded as naïve, inexperienced, etc.”
“To do the minimum amount of work required for a job”
“Romantic appeal or charm”
“To show excessive devotion to or longing for someone or something”
“A usually unpaid intern working in a professional kitchen as part of their training to become a chef”
“A photograph (such as a selfie) or video shared for the purpose of attracting attention or desire”
Are you a logophile? Do you want to learn unusual words and old-timey slang to make conversation more interesting, or discover fascinating tidbits about the origins of everyday phrases? Then get our new book, The Curious Compendium of Wonderful Words: A Miscellany of Obscure Terms, Bizarre Phrases, & Surprising Etymologies, out now! You can pick up your copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or Bookshop.org.