Latest Additions Highlight Changes Driven by Culture, COVID, and Technology
OAKLAND, Calif. – Today, Dictionary.com, the leading online and mobile English-language educational resource, announced that more than 300 new words and definitions were added in its latest update. These new entries demonstrate the vital role that Dictionary.com plays in documenting—and educating on—all aspects of language, from changes in culture and tech due to COVID to keeping track of ways people are reckoning with identity to slang and cultural touchstones. The update also includes the company’s latest educational offerings that allow users to enjoy new learning experiences with words.
“The latest update to our dictionary continues to mirror the world around us,” said John Kelly, Managing Editor, 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.”
“But sometimes language changes just for fun,” continued Kelly. “Yes, yeet is now in the dictionary, which may prompt some of us to use one other of our new entries: oof! Perhaps these lighter slang and pop culture newcomers to our dictionary reflect another important aspect of our time—a cautious optimism and a brighter mood about the future ahead after a trying 2020.”
Impact of Identity and Culture on Language
Growing awareness of inequality, inequity, and their deeper causes has spurred many organizations and corporations to invest in initiatives to counter them in the workplace. These efforts are commonly referred to by two increasingly familiar—and newly added—initialisms, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion). Changes in the branding of major products such as Aunt Jemima and Edy’s Pies are now documented on Dictionary.com and reflect a shift away from the use of racist stereotypes in marketing.
Another notable update centers on an important distinction between the terms marginalize and minoritize, the latter of which is newly defined on Dictionary.com. Other new entries, such as historical laws known as the one-drop rule and the social theory of hypodescent, speak to how past practices continue to resonate and have complex ramifications for the present. Dictionary.com also broadened its definition of cultural appropriation to account for the mainstream adoption of cultural elements from any smaller group, including from minority groups as well as subcultures within dominant groups.
New Entries from Technology, COVID, and Pop Culture
The world of technology reliably brings new entries, including 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless, while various social media controversies brought the term deplatforming into the mainstream.
COVID continues to impact the lexicon, with additions including long haul, long hauler, and long COVID that describe the long-term effects of the virus. (And for those who were stuck at home during COVID-related lockdowns and turned to true crime to fill the time, the addition of the British police slang misper may be a familiar addition.)
This recent batch of entries also features some existing words that received new or upgraded definitions. The entry for silver fox, not to be confused with zaddy, now includes a handsome grey-haired senior alongside the original zoological definition, while taking a break for a snack has whole new connotations, thanks to newly added slang sense of the word. Pop culture has also provided two fantastic words to this latest update: oof and yeet, both of which can be used as expressive formations, one for dismay and the other for excitement.
Last but far from least, Dictionary.com has given y’all its own entry, marking not only its distinct prominence in the lexicon but also showing its spread from southern dialects of American English into the mainstream vernacular.
New Educational Offerings To Explore
Dictionary.com is committed to creating fun, engaging, and authoritative educational resources for parents, students, and educators to help combat challenges in education due to the pandemic as well as discover new ways to use and experiment with words. These include:
Grammar Coach™: Our AI-backed writing tool helps writers of all kinds produce high-quality, error-free work. From grammar corrections to Thesaurus.com-powered synonym suggestions, Grammar Coach™ ensures every essay, email, and application letter is perfectly written.
Dictionary Academy™: Whether your student is looking to stay sharp over the summer months, get a jump start on college applications, or prep for the upcoming school year, Dictionary Academy™ is the perfect place to start. Our best-in-class tutors are fully vetted, and ready to help students reach new levels of academic success and confidence. Expand your vocabulary with flashcards and quizzes from custom-made word lists—the perfect tool for tutors, test-takers, and anyone looking to grow their mental glossary.
“Our team is redefining what it means to be the dictionary in a fast-changing world. We’re more than just definitions and synonyms,” said Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, CEO, Dictionary.com. “From our tutoring to our writing tools, for users teaching third-grade vocabulary to those crafting their first novel or résumé, we are making education fun and empowering for everyone. At Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, words are just the beginning of a lifelong love of words and learning. ”
About Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com is the world’s leading online source for definitions, word origins, and a whole lot more. With virtual tutoring, educational word lists and flashcards, and engaging word games driven by the Dictionary Academy™, Dictionary.com opens the door to learning for millions of people.
Thesaurus.com powers millions of writers every day with the world’s largest and most trusted lists of synonyms and antonyms, plus expert grammar advice. Whether they’re looking for the perfect word or utilizing Grammar Coach™ for help writing that essay, email, or school paper, writers trust Thesaurus.com to help them communicate.
A selection of recently added notable new entries and definitions can be found below. Click on each term to view the full entry 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; a**hole.
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.
content warning: abbreviation: CW; 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: Trademark. 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: British, Police Slang. 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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