OAKLAND, Calif., March, 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Dictionary.com today announced its latest addition of new words, which reflects the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on language and hits on a variety of additional themes relating to race, social justice, identity, and culture. The leading online dictionary has updated 7,600 entries, including 450 new entries and 94 new definitions in existing entries. The update continues its mission of not only documenting the ever-evolving English language, but also using words as an opportunity for discovery and education. Dictionary.com's team of lexicographers is continuously updating entries to ensure they are useful and relevant to its audience.
"2021, so far, is still so much about the events of 2020—and this is true for our work as a dictionary," said John Kelly, Managing Editor at Dictionary.com. "We continue to keep up with the many ways the pandemic has transformed our language. This includes, for instance, usage notes on capitalizing and spelling COVID-19, a term only added to the dictionary a year ago. This also includes an entry for the name of an application that, for so many of us, became synonymous with life during COVID-19: Zoom."
"Our update also reflects how our society is reckoning with racism, including in language," Kelly continued. "We have added such terms as BIPOC, Critical Race Theory, and overpolice, which have risen to the top of the national discourse on social justice. Another significant decision was to remove the noun slave when referring to people, instead using the adjective enslaved or referring to the institution of slavery. This is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure we represent people on Dictionary.com with due dignity and humanity."
Race and Identity at the Forefront
Race, social justice, and identity remain prominent themes in Dictionary.com's additions, including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), as well as long-established AAL (African American Language) forms like finna and chile. More than ever before, the Black Lives Matter movement spurred an ongoing reckoning with how marginalized groups are treated in the U.S., with related additions such as overpolice, racialization, disenfranchisement and Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Additionally, the update includes capitalizing Indigenous when referring to a people who are the original, earliest known inhabitants of a region, or are their descendants. Dictionary.com also revised dozens of entries to eliminate the noun slave, replacing it with adjective enslaved or referencing the institution of slavery itself, in biographical entries, like those for Harriet Tubman, and in related entries like plantation or underground railroad.
COVID and Culture
COVID-19 also continues to drive significant language change, showing both how instantly and enduringly current events can impact the lexicon. From new ways to learn and work (blended learning, hybrid learning, telework) to suddenly prominent technical terms (flatten the curve, superspreader) and renewed discussions about UBI (universal basic income), it's evident that the impacts of the pandemic are lasting and far-reaching.
Doomscrolling through seemingly endless negative news may be detrimental to one's sleep hygiene, or it may lead to an encounter with sponcon, short for sponsored content, or a deepfake, an image or video that's been manipulated by artificial intelligence. And many parents have lost track of how many times they've told their children to use an indoor voice.
These added definitions embiggen the dictionary's lexicon, as we can say thanks to The Simpsons. And Dictionary.com is finally giving justice to Joey Tribbiani fans everywhere, adding an official entry to the word supposably, which is a perfectly cromulent word.
It's Not All Bad News, because Dogs…
In the midst of a tumultuous year, it's no surprise that people are turning to pets for support and companionship. As pet adoptions and sales increased, so did entries for dog breeds. Dictionary.com has added entries that run the gamut from designer dogs, such as Bernedoodle, cavachon, goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Maltipoo, Morkie, Pomsky, puggle, schnoodle, and Yorkiepoo, to poodles of all sizes: miniature, toy, and standard.
Words You've Never Heard
Many people have used stay-at-home orders to pick up new hobbies and learn new skills. Those hoping to expand their vocabulary can look no further than this latest update, highlighting additions and revisions of terms to the site that may be unfamiliar to many:
- adroitly: with expert or dexterous use of the hands or body; nimbly
- eukaryotic: of, relating to, or characteristic of a eukaryote, an organism whose basic structural unit is a cell containing specialized organelles and a membrane-bound nucleus
- jingoistic: militantly nationalistic or chauvinistic
- paroxysmal: sudden and uncontrolled
- phenomenological: of, relating to, or based on observed or observable facts
- pleiotropic: responsible for or affecting more than one phenotypic characteristic
- pugilistic: relating to or involving fighting with the fists, especially professional boxing
- reification: the act of treating something abstract, such as an idea, relation, system, quality, etc., as if it were a concrete object
For those that want to continue broadening their language learning and more, Dictionary.com has an ever-growing number of educational resources, including Thesaurus.com's Grammar Coach™, My Word List, and Dictionary.com Academy Tutors™.
"The Dictionary.com team is constantly updating our dictionary, thesaurus, and tools to make sure our users can always find the words they need for their lives," said Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, CEO of Dictionary.com. "We're more than a dictionary. Our goal is to open the door to learning. This is powered by our passion for words and grounded in our expertise in language. Our team is dedicated to providing delightful educational experiences for a fast-changing world, from getting personalized help in school with our online tutoring to perfecting writing on the job with our grammar tools and resources."
For more insight, visit https://www.dictionary.com/e/new-dictionary-words-spring-2021/.
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