Merriam-Webster Adds 1,000 More Words To Catalog: What's New For Tech And Science?

8 February 2017, 2:47 pm EST By Maricris Francisco Tech Times
Merriam-Webster redefines 'troll' and 'dog whistle'

Merriam-Webster just announced that it has added 1,000 more words to its dictionary, continuing its yearly tradition of adding a bunch of new English words into its database. Most of the words that were included have become commonplace.

'Binge-watch' is a result of how Netflix-obsessed we have become, while the word 'humblebrag' has earned its spot in the dictionary because of self-deprecating statements made on social media sites. The dictionary also added 'throw shade' to its catalog, which is a term used to describe when one is indirectly expressing a disapproval over something.

A lot of tech-related words have also been introduced this year, and the dictionary has acknowledged this on its announcement made on the website: "We now see that new tech terms are more about what we do with technology - how it is managed, deployed, and organized - than giving a name to the technology itself; hence terms such as net neutrality, abandonware, and botnet."

In its announcement, the dictionary says that the new words "represent a continuing record of our evolving language," and that it is already working on its next batch of new words.

Merriam-Webster Update Cannot Come At A Better Time

Merriam-Webster defines net neutrality as the "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."

The addition of the term "net neutrality" is well-timed, as it has been in the news as of late. President Trump's pick for the Federal Communications Commission chair, Ajit Pai, is known to be an opponent of net neutrality. Most recently, Pai has scrapped "Lifeline," a program that subsidizes internet and phone services to low-income households.

New Science And Health Words Added To Merriam-Webster

The science and health sectors also got a bunch of new words. 'EpiPen,' a trademarked name for a device used to inject epinephrine into the body to treat allergy is now in the dictionary. 'Microbiome,' a collection of microorganisms living in the human gut, and 'CRISPR,' a genome editing tool, have also been added. A rare visual agnosia called 'prosopagnosia,' which is characterized by the inability to recognize faces, has also been added.

It can take a couple of years before a new word gets published in the dictionary, says Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer for Merriam-Webster. Sokolowski says that once a word starts to get around, the dictionary's editors start collecting citations or published examples of the word.

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