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Let me just start by saying—all words are made up. Language wasn’t bestowed on us on holy tablets and delivered by Advanced Placement Moses so that our tongues would know what to do with themselves. Language was developed by people—who made up words.
Still, English aficionados—who never wondered whether the person who came up with the word “flabbergasted” ever got funny looks—love to get their underoos all in a bunch whenever slang or informal words get added to the dictionary. Well, those people might not be happy with the fact that Merriam-Webster has added a slew of internet terminology to the great book of words and their meanings.
The addition of “metaverse” comes as no surprise, seeing as companies like Facebook have been all about the virtual environment recently in meatspace. Yes, “meatspace” is a term now used to describe physical space and environment. “Altcoin” has also been added to describe alternatives to established cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
People have been saying “laggy” and “pwn” for a very, very long time now, but now those words have their own pages on the dictionary’s website. And those who want to tell someone on the internet that they’re “virtue signaling” or “greenwashing” something can now simply link them to those terms.
When the game Among Us rose in popularity, so did the slang “sus,” which means suspicious or suspect, so it’s not a mystery why Merriam-Webster has officially recognized it. The word “lewk,” as in fashion looks, is now officially a word, as well. We hope nobody “cringes” or “yeets” whatever it is they’re holding, but “adorkable” has also been added to the dictionary. (Yep, “cringe” and “yeet” get their own dictionary entries, too.)
Yeah, I’m not going to lie—I’ve only heard half these words and I’m never really sure what most of that half even mean. If only there were some holy tablet where I can discover these definitions and thus decipher this new language. Oh, wait. (I mean, I guess the Urban Dictionary was already a thing but I’ve always considered that to be the White People AAVE Gentrification Bible so I try not to use it.)
Anyway, you can also look for words and phrases like “Booster dose,” “false negative/positive,” “shrinkflation,” “birria” and “side hustle.”
In fact, Merriam-Webster published a full list of 370 new words added to the Dictionary for 2022. So, if you’re feeling lost, all you have to do is look it up.