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Here are the new words Merriam-Webster added in 2018

English is a language that is constantly evolving, and every year, new words are added to the dictionaries.

This past year, Merriam-Webster added 850 new words and definitions.

Many of these words seem like they have been around for several years. Often they have, because the dictionaries don't want to include words that are merely passing fads. Some examples of recently added words or meanings, with the date of their first known usage, are:

*Cryptocurrency — 1990 — which is a currency that only exists in a digital form and is not issued by a central or regulating authority. A famous version of cryptocurrency is bitcoin.

*Glamping — 2005 — outdoor camping but with many indoor amenities such as electricity, plumbing, and beds. The word is a combination of glamorous and camping.

*Microfinance — 1995 — the financial practice of using small loans to finance entrepreneurial projects in impoverished and developing countries.

*Mansplain — 2008 — to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.

*Demonym — 1990 — a word that denotes a person who inhabits or is native to a particular place such as a Hoosier, Sooner, or Minnesotan.

*Narcissistic Personality Disorder — 1975 — a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes.

*Bandwidth — 1902 — originally it was used to signify a range within a band of wavelengths, frequencies, or energies, but this year, a new, more human, meaning was added as the emotional or mental capacity necessary to do or consider something.

Word of the year

The Oxford English Dictionary, which updates its list quarterly, added more than 1,000 words and definitions this year. The lexicon experts also chose their annual Word of the Year.

Toxic.

Publishers of the OED explained that "The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance."

The word toxic showed a 45 percent increase in the number of times it was looked up on oxforddictionaries.com and was used so often that it was "the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, that made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title," the editors reported.

They also identified many collocates — words frequently used with toxic — and the 10 most common are:

• Chemical

• Masculinity

• Substance

• Gas

• Environment

• Relationship

• Culture

• Waste

• Algae

• Air

Finally, word lovers are always interested in learning about new words. They will truly love one word added this year by Merriam-Webster — wordie — in a fashion similar to words like foodie or groupie.

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

(651) 301-7872
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