Democracy, Drugs, and Definitions: Alt-Right, Dabbing, and Slay Among New Words Added to Dictionary.com

OAKLAND, Calif., March, 2017 – From pop culture to pot culture, alt-right to Kpop—the trends, movements, and news of today continue to influence the words and language we use. Today Dictionary.com, the leading online and mobile English-language resource, announced more than 300 new words and definitions were added to the dictionary, sharing trends and insights into how and why words within cultural and political discourse impact the English language.

 

Pop culture and politics have become increasingly intertwined, from late night hosts playing political pundits to the newly elected “Commander in Tweet.” The same trend emerges in new words added to the dictionary, specifically with the rise of the alt-right, a political movement with extreme ideologies, and clicktivism, the use of the Internet to organize and promote political or social causes and movements. Looking up these words could be described as a teachable moment, which you can also now find on Dictionary.com.

 

Pot culture has also made its way into our mainstream vocabularies thanks to legislation that was front-and-center for many US voters during the November 2016 election. Several states voted for the legalization of marijuana, spurring the addition of 420 and kush, both slang for the drug—the latter specific to a strain of cannabis that originated from the Hindu Kush region.

 

“Our users turn to us to define the words they see, hear, and read—and in today’s highly politicized world, we play a necessary role in helping users dissect the meaning of words heard in this period of political discourse,” said Liz McMillan, CEO of

Dictionary.com. “But not all new words spark controversy; words are often poetic and uplifting. For instance, our users have often asked why petrichor isn’t in the dictionary, and today they can look it up and get an official definition for the distinctive aroma you smell after it rains.”

 

Another trend uncovered from Dictionary.com’s recent addictions can be found in the number of food- and drink-related words added in this update, including cat café, cold brew, hangry, and superfood. The dieting word cheat day and the non-dieting word dad bod also made it into the dictionary.

 

Slang words always make an appearance in Dictionary.com’s revisions. Beyoncé has inspired countless people to slay in their everyday lives, and that newer sense of a much older word now exists in the dictionary. You can also find a number of other slang words on Dictionary.com, including bitchface, man bun, mic drop, sext, and struggle bus. Additionally, the celebratory dance move dabbing went from viral to verified vocabulary in the latest update with an official (and instructional) definition.

 

A selection of recently added words with brief definitions can be found below. Full dictionary entries for the new words can be found on Dictionary.com.

  • 420: slang; marijuana.
  • alt-right: a political movement originating on social media and online forums, composed of a segment of conservatives who support extreme right-wing ideologies, including white nationalism and anti-Semitism.
  • bitchface: slang; a facial expression that does not consciously express a particular emotion but that others perceive as scowling, threatening, etc.
  • cat café: a business establishment that has numerous cats available for customers to play with, and usually offers food and drinks.
  • cheat day: a day in which a person goes off a dietary regimen.
  • clicktivism: the use of the Internet to organize and promote political or social causes and movements, as through postings on social media, email campaigns, and online petitions.
  • cold brew: the process of steeping coffee grounds or tea leaves in roomtemperature or cold water for many hours, producing a concentrate to which more water may be added.
  • dabbing: the act of performing a dance move that involves posing with one’s nose in the crook of a bent elbow at chest level while extending the other arm to the side at or above shoulder level, often as a celebratory posture in sports or other competitions.
  • dad bod: informal; a man’s physique that is slightly overweight or flabby but still attractive.
  • friendiversary: the yearly recurrence of the date that two or more people first became friends.
  • hangry: slang; feeling irritable or irrationally angry as a result of being hungry.
  • K-pop: pop music from Korea.
  • Kush: slang; marijuana, formerly specific to a strain of cannabis that originated from the Hindu Kush region.
  • lightsaber: a type of sword, as depicted in the fictional Star Wars universe, with a blade made of laser energy that can both cut and burn.
  • man bun: a man’s hair gathered into a bun at the back or top of the head.
  • mic drop: the act of intentionally dropping one’s microphone at the end of a speech or performance, displaying a bold confidence that it has been very impressive or cannot be topped.
  • petrichor: a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground.
  • sext: a sexually explicit digital image, text message, etc., sent to someone usually by cell phone.
  • slay: slang; to strongly impress or overwhelm someone.
  • smackdown: a severe rebuke or criticism.
  • stochastic terrorism: the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted.
  • struggle bus: slang; a situation, task, etc., that seems difficult or frustrating.
  • superfood: a food considered exceptionally good for one’s health and for boosting the immune system owing to its naturally high content of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, or omega-3 fatty acids.
  • teachable moment: a specific occurrence, situation, or experience that can be used to teach people about something more general.
  • throw shade: slang; to insult, criticize, or disrespect a person or thing in an indirect, artful manner.
  • uncanny valley: a psychological concept that describes the feelings of unease or revulsion that people tend to have toward artificial representations of human beings, as robots or computer animations, that closely imitate many but not all the features and behaviors of actual human beings.

 

Dictionary.com uses a number of tools to determine which words are widely used and should earn a place in the online dictionary. Lexicographers review and discover new words in everything from academic journals, pop-culture sources, and user suggestions, while vetting new candidates in a corpus of contemporary language use that contains more than 19 billion words. Dictionary.com stands apart from other dictionaries with its access to billions of data points in search lookups, and its lexicographers analyze this search data to better understand interest and demand.

 

About Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com, an IAC (NASDAQ: IAC) company, is the world’s leading, definitive online and mobile resource dedicated to helping people master the art of language. We provide tens of millions of global monthly users with reliable access to millions of definitions, synonyms, audio pronunciations, example sentences, translations and spelling help through our services at Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. Our leading mobile applications for reference and education have been downloaded more than 100 million times.

 

Media Contact

Nikki Neumann  518-669-6455

nikki@dottedlinecomm.com

Dotted Line Communications on behalf of Dictionary.com

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