New on Merriam-Webster: Ghosting, Shade, and More

The dictionary people added 1K or so new words on Tuesday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 7, 2017 1:48 PM CST

(Newser) – In addition to elevating "surreal" in 2016 to word of the year, Merriam-Webster on Tuesday added about 1,000 new words and new definitions to existing listings on its website, the AP reports. Among 17 of the latest disclosed by the company are: "arancini," those stuffed, breaded, and fried Italian rice balls, "conlang," meaning an invented language like Klingon, "fast fashion," and "microaggression," a flash-point favorite on some college campuses. The rest? Well, it's up to language treasure hunters to find those for themselves. This is the first time the dictionary company has freshened up its website listings since 2014, when it added entries to both its website and a new paper edition of its collegiate book at the same time.

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Alphabetically speaking, arancini leads the charge. Foreign food words are among the richest sources of new words in English and this one is borrowed from the Italian for "little orange." The fresh entries also include: "Seussian," for "having a playful or outlandish quality" relating to the works of beloved children's writer Dr. Seuss, aka Theodore Geisel; "ghosting," the practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone, such as a former romantic partner; "microbiome," for communities of bacteria, fungi, and viruses inhabiting a particular environment, most notably the human body; and—last but not least—recognition for a slang definition of "shade," as in throwing some publicly as a subtle or indirect insult. (Read more Merriam-Webster stories.)

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