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Dictionary.com Catches Up on Hot Topics, and Also 'Yeet'

A changing world requires new terms and definitions, editor says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2021 2:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – More than 300 words and updated definitions have been added to Dictionary.com, in an effort to stay current with surging issues and slang that may or may not stay around long. New terms related to COVID-19, terrorism, racial justice, and technology now are listed; earlier dictionaries had no need for "5G." The site's managing editor said language changes to help us deal with a complicated world, CNN reports, which brings up "Yeet." It's "an exclamation of enthusiasm, triumph, pleasure, joy, etc.," according to the definition. But "yeet" also can be used a couple of ways as a verb, meaning "to hurl or move forcefully." The examples given are: "He's an early riser, so his mom never had to yeet him out of bed!" and "My cat yeeted out of there in a big hurry."

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The editors might be out ahead a bit on some of these terms. Software spellcheckers still want to change "yeet" to "yet," Jody Serrano points out on Gozmodo. But at least people who don't know the term now can look it up, Serrano points out, instead of having to ask someone younger. Also, a right-click adds it to the Microsoft Word dictionary, making it look like "yeet" has been there all along. In some areas, inclusive decisions were made; the site adds "Y'all," "You-all," "Youse," and "You-uns" without making much distinction among them—or judgments. "The latest update to our dictionary continues to mirror the world around us," said John Kelly, the managing editor. Dictionary.com's definition of "dictionary" makes a couple of things clear, saying it offers "a selection of the words of a language"—not every word necessarily is in the dictionary, and there's no mention of recommendations. If nothing makes you go "Yeet!" you don't have to use the term. But if you so choose, here's a selection of the new entries.

On tech:
Deplatform—to block a person or group from sharing views in a public forum, such as Twitter.
5G—the new, faster system for transferring data, especially to cellphones.
Asynchronous, synchronous—related to sequences of computer operations. "Asynchronous" means the operation can take place independently, while "synchronous" means an operation has to be finished before another one can happen.
On COVID-19:
Long COVID—the condition in which health problems remain or surface after the patient is thought to have recovered from the illness.
Long hauler—a patient dealing with symptoms of an illness or disease after an assumed recovery.
On race:
Cultural appropriation—the adoption of "cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status."
Hypodescent—the classifying of person whose heritage is of two or more races in the "lowest socially ranking racial group from which that person has ancestry."
One-drop rule—a law in some places that categorized anyone as Black who had any Black African ancestor ever.
On crime:
Ghost gun—a weapon without a serial number and usually assembled by the owner, making it difficult to trace and allowing the owner to get around a background check.
Slang:
Zaddy—a man who, if not the whole package, is at least attractive, stylish, charming, and confident.
Oof—an exclamation of empathy or of the speaker's own pain. Sort of a counter to "yeet." (Read more Dictionary.com stories.)

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