‘Swole’, ‘buzzy’ among new words in Merriam-Webster dictionary

Latest additions include mostly new words, or phrases, with some old words offering new meanings

Get swole, prepare a bug-out bag, grab a go-cup and maybe you’ll have a better chance of surviving the omnicide.

Translation: Hit the gym and bulk up, put a bunch of stuff essential for survival in an easy-to-carry bag, grab a drink for the road, and perhaps you’ll live through a man-made disaster that could wipe out the human race.

Swole, bug-out bag, go-cup and omnicide are just a few of the 640 additions to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary added Monday.

Deciding what gets included is a painstaking process involving the Springfield, Massachusetts-based company’s roughly two dozen lexicographers, said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large.

They scan online versions of newspapers, magazines, academic journals, books and even movie and television scripts until they detect what he calls “a critical mass” of usage that warrants inclusion.

The words are added to the online dictionary first, before some are later added to print updates of the company’s popular Collegiate Dictionary, which according to company spokeswoman Meghan Lunghi, has sold more than 50 million copies since 1898, making it the “bestselling hardcover book after the Bible.”

“So many people use our website as their principal dictionary and we want it to be current,” Sokolowski said. “We want to be as useful as possible.”

READ MORE: Levidrome slides into everyday lexicon

WATCH: New Indigenous dictionary for SENĆOŦEN released after years of work

The latest additions include mostly new words, or phrases, but also some old words with new meanings or applications.

Take unplug and snowflake, for example. Unplug means to literally tug an electric plug from a wall socket, but now, it also has a more metaphorical meaning, as in to disconnect from social media, he said.

And yes, a snowflake is still a beautiful ice crystal that floats from the sky during winter, but it now also has a usually disparaging meaning of “someone who is overly sensitive,” according to Merriam-Webster’s definition.

Some of the words have been around for decades, but are included in the dictionary because of increased usage.

Omnicide, which means “the destruction of all life,” dates to the Cold War and was used in reference to the threat of nuclear annihilation, but lately it has been used to define the risk of other man-made disasters, primarily climate change.

Popular culture —movies, TV and sports — is a common source of new words, such as buzzy, an adjective that literally means creating a buzz, such as a “buzzy new movie.”

And then there’s EGOT, a noun that refers to an entertainer who has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Mel Brooks and Whoopi Goldberg are among the elite group .

Garbage time, those painful final minutes of a game when one team has an insurmountable lead and both teams empty their benches, has been around since 1960, but is on the latest list of new words.

With the rapid advance of science, many new words come from the fields of technology and medicine.

In the internet age when it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to is accurate, the dictionary is a rock, Sokolowski said.

“We need the dictionary more than ever now that we have information flying at us from all directions,” he said.

Mark Pratt, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

“It’ll happen again”: Lake Country council has no answers for flood victims

Flood victim snuffed when she asked about future provisions to stop water main breaks from occuring

3-car collision on Kelowna’s Hwy. 97 fifth incident of the day

Kelowna RCMP and first responders have been on the go today with a number of incidents

NHL stars return to Kelowna for charity slo-pitch game

The Gorges/Comeau Homebase Chairty Tournament returns June 28

Motorbike rider taken to hospital following crash

The incident happened on Highway 97 near Leckie Road

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Okanagan and Connector

Storms expected to develop this morning and intensify early in the afternoon

Suspicious Rutland car fire has one woman thinking it may have been targeted

A family who raised their voice against the McCurdy Road house has car torched, is it connected?

Still months of investigation left into South Okanagan murders

Penticton came to a standstill on April 15, when John Brittain allegedly shot and killed four people

Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Action imperative on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Chief commissioner into national inquiry encourages governments, private sector to act

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

COLUMN: Imagine the possibilities at the library

Programs at Summerland Library promote reading among children

Summerland Orca Swim Club holds fundraising events

Proceeds benefit swimmer with rare kidney disease

Most Read