The Dictionary Just Got A Little Bigger

driving while texting

2013 was an exciting year for the English vocabulary. Some long-simmering terms like twerk bounced into the spotlight, while new coinages (from the trendy cronut and selfie to the serious Obamacare) cemented their place in the English language. As the English language grows and evolves, so must our dictionary.

Here are just a few words recently added to
Google Glass
patent cliff

(How do you get a word into the dictionary anyway? Follow these rules.)

But lexicographers have a secret. Even though cronuts and selfies make us seem cool, the trickiest thing about adding new words to the dictionary isn’t those flashy neologisms. Rather old words used in new ways are hardest to find and define. In the Internet age in particular, English speakers have drawn from our vast language to coin new senses of existing words, like click, friend, search, share, and pinch. This update to the dictionary includes new senses of familiar terms like content, lean, cliff, robust and ridiculous. Can you find the new senses?

Additionally we’ve updated other useful supplements to help satisfy the voracious lexical needs of our users. To illustrate finer points of English usage, we’ve included new-and-improved notes to impactful and misnomer, and to help you better understand the dictionary, we’ve written new notes for signifying terms such as informal, vulgar, obsolete, nonstandard and offensive, which are used to indicate tone.

(What words were added in 2012? Here’s a reminder.)

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