Story at a glance:
- Dictionary.com has added more than 300 new words to its dictionary, including terms originating from meme culture, social justice movements and slang.
- Changing culture in America has influenced the dictionary’s definition of existing brands and words.
- The reference website is also introducing two new services called Grammar Coach and Dictionary Academy to assist students and writers.
Dictionary.com, the world’s leading online English-language dictionary, is adding more than 300 new words, many of which originate in meme culture, social justice movements and slang. Now, words like “yeet,” “oof,” “cultural appropriation,” “deplatform,” “Domestic terrorism,” calling someone attractive a “snack,” and “zaddy“ are all going mainstream.
Two major, yet subtle, additions make “y’all,” or you-all, and “youse,” or “you-uns,” official words, Dictionary.com told Changing America. The word “y’all” originated in the Southern U.S. in the early 19th century, and usage has accelerated its popularity, becoming commonplace in the 20th century, according to babbel.com, especially due to the word’s inclusivity. According to Mental Floss, “youse,” sometimes spelled “yous,” is commonly used in several English-speaking countries, including New Zealand and South Africa. In the United States, “you-uns” or “you ones” — often said and spelled as “yinz” — is a regional phenomenon chiefly found between Ohio and Pittsburgh as well as New Jersey.
Words like “Long COVID” – which Dictionary.com defines as “a condition characterized by symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an acute phase of COVID-19 infection” – were added to be more inclusive as the internet plays a significant role in shaping how we interact with each other during a pandemic.
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“The latest update to our dictionary continues to mirror the world around us,” said John Kelly, the managing editor of Dictionary.com. “Long COVID, minoritize, 5G, content warning, domestic terrorism—it’s a complicated and challenging society we live in, and language changes to help us grapple with it.”
Kelly also explained how culture has influenced the dictionary’s definition of existing brands and words.
No longer will people use the word Aunt Jemima to exclusively refer to syrup; it is slang to “disparag[e] and offen[d] a Black woman considered by other Black people to be subservient to or to curry favor with white people.”
A classic Nestlé product, a stick of vanilla ice cream coated with chocolate, was renamed Edy’s Pie after acknowledging that the former name was derogatory, and Dictionary.com has updated its language.
To prevent a cultural divide, Dictionary is providing two new services: Grammar Coach, an artificial intelligence writing tool that helps writers make less errors, corrects grammar and provides a thesaurus of suggested words, and Dictionary Academy, a tutoring application aimed for students expand their vocabulary with flashcards and quizzes from custom-made word lists.
Below are the following new entries on Dictionary.com:
- 5G: fifth-generation: being or relating to communications technology or a mobile device that supports much faster data-transfer speeds with significantly lower latency than previous versions.
- a**hat: (slang): a foolish, annoying, or contemptible person; asshole.
- asynchronous: relating to or being a computer operation that can occur independently, without waiting for another event.
- Aunt Jemima:(slang): Disparaging and Offensive. a Black woman considered by other Black people to be subservient to or to curry favor with white people.
- Black Code: (in the ex-Confederate states) any code of law that defined and especially limited the rights of formerly enslaved African Americans in the period immediately following the Civil War.
- blamestorm: the process of assigning blame for a negative outcome or situation.
- boondoggle: a wasteful and worthless project undertaken for political, corporate, or personal gain, typically a government project funded by taxpayers.
- CW: abbreviation; content warning: a stated warning that the content of the immediately following text, video, etc., may upset or offend some people.
- cultural appropriation: the adoption, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status.
- DEI: diversity, equity, and inclusion: a conceptual framework that promotes the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace, including populations who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination because of their background, identity, disability, etc.
- Domestic terrorism: the unlawful use of violence or threats against a country’s civilian population or government by an individual or group based and operating within the same country and without foreign direction, with the goal of furthering political, social, or ideological objectives.
- deplatform: to prohibit (a person or people) from sharing their views in a public forum, especially by banning a user from posting on a social media website or application.
- Edy’s Pie: the brand name for a small bar of ice cream coated with chocolate and skewered on a narrow, thin stick, by which it is held in the hand for eating.
- ghost gun: a gun that does not have a serial number and cannot be easily traced, especially one assembled at home from parts purchased without a background check.
- ghost kitchen: a commercial facility that prepares and cooks restaurant-style food for delivery directly to customers or to one or more dine-in restaurants.
- hypodescent: the classifying or identifying of a biracial or multiracial individual as a member of the lower or lowest socially ranking racial group from which that person has ancestry.
- ingénue: the role of a young, innocent, and appealing character in a play, movie, TV show, etc., typically a female role.
- JEDI: (abbreviation); justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion: a conceptual framework that attempts to redress disparity and inequality in society, promoting the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace, including populations who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination because of their background, identity, disability, etc.
- lemming: a person who follows the will of others, especially in a mass movement, and heads straight into a situation or circumstance that is dangerous, stupid, or destructive.
- long COVID: a condition characterized by symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an acute phase of COVID-19 infection.
- long haul: (Pathology). relating to or being a condition characterized by symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an associated acute illness or active infection.
- long hauler:(Pathology). a person who experiences symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an associated acute illness or active infection.
- minoritize: to make (a person or group) subordinate in status to a more dominant group or its members.
- misper: a missing person.
- one-drop rule: a social classification, codified in law in some states during the 20th century, that identifies biracial or multiracial individuals as Black if they have any known Black African ancestry, even from a Black ancestor many generations removed.
- oof: an exclamation used to sympathize with someone else’s pain or dismay, or to express one’s own.
- sh*tshow: a person or thing that is a total mess, failure, or disaster.
- side hustle: a job or occupation that brings in extra money beyond one’s regular job and main source of income.
- silver fox: an attractive older person with gray or silver hair, especially a man.
- scrappy: having or showing spirit and determination, especially in spite of obstacles:
- snack: (slang). a sexy and physically attractive person; hottie.
- synchronous: relating to or being a computer operation that must complete before another event can begin.
- theater: a public display of action or speech that gives a false impression of accomplishing or promising something, merely for the sake of appearances
- TW: abbreviation; trigger warning. a stated warning that the content of the immediately following text, video, etc., may cause distressing psychological or physiological reactions, especially in people who have previously experienced a related trauma.
- trap house:(slang). a place where illicit drugs are bought, sold, or used.
- y’all: you (used in direct address usually to two or more people, or to one person who represents a family, organization, etc.).
- you-all: you (used in direct address to two or more people).
- youse: you (usually used in addressing two or more people).
- you-uns: you (used in direct address usually to two or more persons).
- yeet: an exclamation of enthusiasm, approval, triumph, pleasure, joy, etc.
- zaddy: an attractive man who is also stylish, charming, and self-confident.
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