Merriam-Webster Adds Internet Slang To Dictionary

WTF has officially made it into the dictionary, along with many other colloquialisms from the internet age.

Merriam-Webster has added 1,700 new words to the dictionary, including emoji, NSFW, net neutrality, clickbait and many more. 3,200 examples have been included to add context for those not familiar with the relatively recent terms, writes Katia Hetter for CNN.

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English language continues to evolve

The unabridged dictionary now includes a variety of new terms from the internet, as the language of the world wide web begins to be legitimized. The additions reveal what is popular in the English language these days, with multiple dictionary entries related to technology, food, the worldwide food supply and the sharing economy.

Interestingly some of the words come from foreign languages, including chilaquiles, which is “a Mexican dish of fried corn tortilla pieces simmered with salsa or mole and typically topped with cheese and other accompaniments.” This particular inclusion could be a nod to the growing Hispanic influence on the United States.

The rise and rise of caffeine-loving hipsters may be responsible for the inclusion of crema, “a layer of tan creamy froth that forms on the top of freshly made espresso.”

However there are other entries which are not as likely to induce hunger pangs or caffeine cravings, including colony collapse disorder: “a disorder of honeybees (Apis mellifera) that is characterized by sudden colony death due to the disappearance of all adult worker bees in a hive while immature bees, the queen bee and the honey remain and that is of unknown cause.”

Internet vernacular most important addition in Merriam-Webster dictionary

But it is the language of the internet which constitutes the most important addition. It may be funny to some that emoji now merits an entry in the dictionary, given the fact that the small pictures are responsible for reducing written contact.

Selfie and hashtag were added last year, joined by photobomb and NSFW this time around. The march of internet vernacular continues, testament to the innovation of the English language, which is restricted by official diktats in other languages, such as French.

Keep your eye out for some of the more obscure entries such as hsaing-waing(noun): A traditional Burmese musical ensemble consisting largely of drums and gongs.