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Merriam-Webster adds words, such as sus, janky and pumpkin spice: NPR


Pumpkin spice is one of the new additions to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty


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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty

Merriam-Webster adds words, such as sus, janky and pumpkin spice: NPR

Pumpkin spice is one of the new additions to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty

It might be unfair to say that Merriam-Webster is offline (added in 2016). Its publishers are not the only ones trying to keep up with the constant evolution of the English language. Still, a bit grumpy, they just adopted it as an adjective, as if in a cringe moment. On the other hand, Oxford just added it last June.

And pumpkin spice seems to have been around long enough to have caught the editor’s attention before now.

Other Merriam-Webster terms added this year:

janky : very poor quality

virtue signaling: visibly display awareness and attention to political issues

narrowing : the practice of reducing the quantity or unit volume of a product while continuing to offer it at the same price

godfather : content posted usually by an influencer on social media that looks like a typical post but for which the poster has been paid to advertise a product or service

mute : a device without advanced features

stuffed toy : a toy covered with plush fabric and filled with soft material

“Some of these words will amuse or inspire, others may provoke debate. Our job is to capture the language as it is used,” Merriam-Webster editor Peter Sokolowski said in a statement. “Words provide a window into our ever-changing language and culture, and are only added to the dictionary when there is clear and enduring evidence of use.”

YesIt’s a pretty good example of that window, as well as the lag time it takes for a social media buzzword to make its way to a legacy repository like Merriam-Webster.

In 2015 – seven years ago – Bustle published the title “Here’s Why People Suddenly Say ‘Yeet'” for an article exploring the origins of the word. Yes went from starting out as a Vine dance to an exclamation of excitement to the act of forcefully throwing something.

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Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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