Merriam-Webster adds 370 new words to dictionary
The popular Merriam-Webster online dictionary added 370 new words and definitions to its lexicon, many of which stem from an increasingly online world amid the global pandemic.
“Altcoin” refers to any cryptocurrency – a digital, decentralized form of payment with little regulations – that is “regarded as alternatives to established cryptocurrencies,” the most notable of which is Bitcoin. Bitcoin emerged in 2009 as the first cryptocurrency and remains among the most widely-used and valuable online currency.
There are now thousands of altcoins, or alternative coins, including Ethereum, Polkadot, Dogecoin, Stellar and more.
The term “yeet” falls under Merriam-Webster’s slang and informal language category, and can be used as either an interjection – used to “express surprised, approval or excited enthusiasm – or as a verb – meaning “to throw especially with force and without regard for the thing being thrown.”
According to Know Your Meme, the term first emerged online in 2014 when individuals began to dance along to the song “Yeet” by Quill. The dance went through many iterations on various social media platforms, including the now defunct Vine, though the meaning has changed in recent years.
Other new additions to the slang and informal language category include “janky,” which refers either to something of poor quality or does not operate properly, “sus,” a shortened version of suspicious or suspect and “MacGyver,” which means to construct or repair an object with tools or items conveniently nearby.
The word refers to the character Angus “Mac” MacGyver in the eponymous series from the 1980s, in which the protagonist was “known for regularly improvising solutions to practical problems with limited tools and materials,” per Merriam-Webster.
And though the term has been around for decades, the dictionary said words in the slang category “have traditionally taken longer to meet our criteria, but that timeline is getting shorter as the internet accelerates the adoption of informal language.”
Merriam-Webster frequently updates the terms included in its dictionary, writing in part: “Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding.”
“New terms and new uses for existing terms are the constant in a living language, and our latest list brings together both new and likely familiar words that have shown extensive and established use,” editors added.
The Merriam-Webster site has about 40 million unique monthly users and about 100 million monthly page views.
Its last batch of new words came in October of last year, when editors said the pandemic had “only increased the practice” of communicating online, adding: “The quick and informal nature of messaging, texting, and tweeting has contributed to a vocabulary newly rich in efficient and abbreviated expression.”
Included in those 455 new words and phrases were internet slang “FTW” and “amirite.” “FTW,” an abbreviation of “for the win,” is an indication of support that the dictionary says is “often used to acknowledge a clever or funny response to a question or meme.” “Amirite” is an amalgamation of words meaning “am I right.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.