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Merriam-Webster Adds ‘WTF’, ‘Jeggings’, ‘Clickbait’ and More to the Dictionary

When I was little, my mom would make my sister and I look up one word a day in the dictionary and define it for her as a way to help us learn to read. It didn’t last long, as my discovery of comic books made me WANT to read. I am not sure if my mom would have tried that activity if she saw some of the words that are in the dictionary today.

Last week, Merriam-Webster added over 1700 new words to the dictionary. If you were to describe the range of them, it would be from “Oh, that’s pretty cool,” to “Well, after this past year, that just makes sense,” to “Wait, what now?” Here is a “best-of/worst-of” list (you’ll see soon enough why that makes sense).

Colony collapse disorder

  • a disorder of honeybees (Apis mellifera) that is characterized by sudden colony death due to the disappearance of all adult worker bees in a hive while immature bees, the queen bee, and the honey remain and that is of unknown cause


 Net Neutrality

  • the idea, principle or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination

Click Fraud

  • fraud committed by clicking through an advertisement on a website multiple times to spuriously increase the cost to the advertiser
    • Note:I had never actually heard of this before. Looking at the definition, it really does make sense that it would happen.


  • any of various small images symbols or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.
    • In case you didn’t understand that, it reads: <3 <3 <3 <3




  • a idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.
    • I am surprised this wasn’t in there already. @midnight wouldn’t exist without them.



  • a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as part of a set expression.
    • Example and MY PET PEEVE: When someone says “I could care less” when they meant to say “I COULDN’T care less.” IF YOU COULD CARE LESS, WHAT’S STOPPING YOU?!?!?!


  • the technique of making brain activity perceptible to the senses (as by recording brain waves with an electroencephalograph and presenting them visually or audibly) in order to consciously alter such activity

Now, those words made sense to me for being included. Here are some that makes me sad for the children of tomorrow.


  • to move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank



  • a legging that is designed to resemble a tight-fitting pair of denim jeans and is made of a stretchable fabric – usually plural
    • Jorts is there already, so it was only a matter of time.



  • not safe for work; not suitable for work – used to warn someone that a website, e-mail attachment, etc,. is not suitable for viewing at most places of employment.


  • what the f*** – used especially to express or describe outraged surprise, recklessness, confusion or bemusement


So there you have it. I feel that it’s a good mix of words we need to know (Colony Collapse Disorder, Net Neutrality) with words we can laugh at knowing (photobomb) with…NSFW. I mean, c’mon. If your buddy from high school sends you a link to a YouTube video, you shouldn’t NEED a warning to know to wait until you got home.

So, what say you? Were there any words on this list that surprised you, or didn’t know existed? Which words made you cringe that they would even be on a list like this? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.

[HT: Merriam-Webster]

IMAGES: NRichey via DeviantArt, Twisted Sifter, Thought You May Ask, Donut Muffin, Quickmeme, Getemoji, BeeFriendly

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