Swole, Buzzy, Among New Words in Merriam-Webster Dictionary - NBC 7 San Diego
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Swole, Buzzy, Among New Words in Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Deciding what gets included is a painstaking process involving the Springfield, Massachusetts-based company's roughly two dozen lexicographers

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Adds New Words Like Buzzy and Swole

    Merriam-Webster recently added hundreds of new words to its dictionary. Some words are completely new, like buzzy and swole, while others, like snowflake, now have additional meanings.

    (Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019)

    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.

    Death Toll, Damages Climb From Typhoon Hagibis

    [NATL] Death Toll, Damages Climb From Typhoon Hagibis

    The death toll from Typhoon Hagibis climbed to 53 on Tuesday, days after it tore through Japan and left hundreds of thousands of homes wrecked, flooded or out of power. Hagibis caused more than 200 rivers to overflow when it hit the island nation on Saturday.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    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 "best-selling 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."

    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.

    Quadruple Murder Suspect Brings Body to Police Station

    [NATL] Quadruple Murder Suspect Brings Body to Police Station

    A Roseville, California, man is in custody after he turned himself in to police in connection to a quadruple homicide.  The body of one of his victims was in the car he drove to the police station in Mount Shasta, more than 200 miles away from the original Roseville crime scene.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    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.

    Taco Bell Recalls 2.3 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

    [NATL] Taco Bell Recalls 2.3 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

    Taco Bell has voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of seasoned ground beef that originated at Kenosha Beef International in Columbus, Ohio, because of possible contamination with metal shavings. The USDA says there have been no confirmed reports of any adverse reaction.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    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.