Language paves the way so that we understand the world, but it also reflects the times we live in as the world continues to turn, change and grow.
Recently, Dictionary.com added over 300 new words, terms and revised definitions to their database, and it’s an extremely interesting junction that entails which terminology has encompassed much of larger society recently.
John Kelly, the managing editor of , recognised the importance of updating to reflect the world at large. “It’s a complicated and challenging society we live in,” he said, per CNN. “Language changes to help us grapple with it.”
What’s especially curious, and arguably a win (from the perspective of a GenZ who enjoys weird and wonderful communication) is the presence of internet slang turned into official words.
“Sometimes language changes just for fun,” Kelly expressed. “Perhaps these lighter slang and pop culture newcomers to our dictionary reflect another important aspect of our time–a cautious optimism and a brighter mood about the future ahead after a trying 2020.”
As a journal published in Frontiers in Psychology explored, “As society and the economy continue to develop, internet slang has shifted from being a mode of communication to being an everyday language. People’s communicative behavior, language, and psychology have all been affected by the subtle influence of internet slang.”
Internet slang has long passed the usual mediums of music, art, pop-culture and the like, and has snuck its way into advertising campaigns and dictionaries worldwide.
Another set of victors in the latest dictionary update are words that reflect social change. This is most widely reflected in initialism. With regard to terms, ‘cultural appropriation’ has also found its well-deserved place in the dictionary. These are victors in updated language because they reflect what people have been most concerned with- what societal pillars are now aware of.
In terms of recent societal life however, an updated dictionary would of course encompass health-related terms, as so many of our conversations are centered around health in light of living through a pandemic. Terms like ‘long Covid’ have now been introduced officially into the dictionary space.
Here’s a more concrete list of some of the updated words, terms and phrases:
- Long Covid: a condition characterised by symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an acute phase of Covid-19 infection.
- Long Haul: (Pathology) relating to or being a condition characterised by symptoms or health problems that linger or first appear after supposed recovery from an associated acute illness or active infection.
Yeet: The online dictionary states that yeet can be used as “an exclamation of enthusiasm, triumph, pleasure, joy, etc.”
Ya’ll :“Y’all has new popularity among former you guys users, who now appreciate the lack of gender associations with y’all,” according to the Dictionary.com post.
Zaddy: an attractive man who is also stylish, charming, and self-confident.
Initialism and Identity Politics:
DEI (Diversity, Equity ad Inclusion)
JEDI (Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion)
CW (Content warning): a stated warning that the content of the immediately following text, video, etc., may upset or offend some people
TW: (Trigger warning) refers to media alerts shared before discussing potentially upsetting or violent topics.
Cultural appropriation: the adoption, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status.
Hypodescent: the classifying or identifying of a biracial or multiracial individual as a member of the lower or lowest socially ranking racial group from which that person has ancestry.
Now, you can potentially submit your essay with the word ‘yeet’ in the headline and say the Dictionary thought it was cool.