From The Discourse To The Dictionary: Fall 2022 New Words

Jumbled Letters: New Words" with definitions for pogonophile, ghost runner, and antiwork

Antiwork, bachelorx party, 45, Ohtani rule, pawternity leave, Zelenskyy. As ever, there is great variety in the new terms and meanings just added to

by Nick Norlen, Senior Editor, and Heather Bonikowski, Lexicographer

Let’s set things straight: a word doesn’t become a “real word” when we add it to the dictionary. It’s actually the other way around: we add a word to the dictionary because it is a real word used by real people in the real world.

And you—the real people in this real, complicated world—have been busy generating a wildly diverse assortment of new words and new ways to use existing words for countless aspects of our modern life.

As always, we’ve been keeping track. That’s our job! The work of a dictionary is to document these changes.

Learn more about how new words get added to—and how the dictionary works.

Many of the words may be new to you. Others you have already been using for some time. (Don’t at us.) Either way, that’s how words work. That’s how the dictionary works. We strive to keep pace with the ever-changing English language—a language whose changes come from you, the people who use it.

What’s in this dictionary update

This update is not just new entries. It also includes, as always, new and revised senses of existing words in our dictionary. Here’s the breakdown for this release:

pie chart divided in three section: new entires, revised definitions, and new definitions for existing entries.

Our lexicography team has also recently begun to do the work of revising entries for Ukrainian place names and the names of Indigenous Peoples. You can read about both below in the special section titled “Endonyms & Exonyms.”

Now, let’s get to the newly added words and meanings. Note that many of these terms have more than one definition. We’ll be highlighting the most prominent or notable meanings relevant to this release.

person typing on a laptop keyboard

Lie Flat

verb. to reject overwork and withdraw voluntarily from relentless competition and pressure to achieve.

🧐 Editor’s note: The term comes from—and is also a synonym for—the name of the movement known as Lying Flat that originated in China.


adjective. of or relating to a social and cultural movement that distinguishes between labor, which generates goods, and work, which generates wealth, and that rejects work as artificially incentivized, while embracing or elevating labor as essential or intrinsically rewarding.

churn rate

noun. the percentage of employees that leave a company in a given period of time, or the rate at which any group loses members.

golden handcuffs

plural noun. incentives like bonuses, raises, insurance plans, and flexible hours that discourage employees from leaving a company.


abbreviation. out of office: used as a notification to colleagues or clients when an employee is on vacation, out sick, or away from the office for another reason, and cannot be reached.

pawternity leave

noun. a brief leave of absence for employees who are adding a new pet to their household, caring for a pet when it is sick or injured, or mourning the death of a pet.

lavender ceiling

noun. an upper limit to professional advancement imposed upon LGBTQ+ people that is not readily perceived or openly acknowledged.

🧐 Editor’s note: This term is modeled on glass ceiling. The word lavender has a history of being used to represent the LGBTQ+ community.

tex: "pop culture & slang" overlaid on an image of someone watching TV


noun. a person, especially a man, who is excessively attentive or submissive to an object of sexual attraction.

verb. to be excessively attentive or submissive, especially to an object of sexual attraction.

Example: Why do you simp for him when he doesn’t even notice you?

🧐 Editor’s note: Yes, we know, you may have already learned this word years ago from your nephew, who probably no longer uses it. It’s actually even older than you think, originating at least from the 1980s in hip-hop—another example of a term from Black culture being taken up by the mainstream in a way that obscures or erases its origins. We expect use of simp to continue and evolve (likely by becoming more general), perhaps differentiating it from other recent slang terms that rapidly became very popular but were then mostly yeeted from the lexicon. It’s important to note that the word is criticized, among other reasons, for its sexist implications, specifically when applied to men, for reinforcing the idea that women are sexual objects, and that men are “weak” if they show any deference toward or consideration of women.


verb. to argue with someone, or dispute someone’s stated views, especially on social media.

Example: The sequel was better than the original—don’t at me!

🧐 Editor’s note: Lexicographers get excited whenever they get to add a meaning to a word as common, basic, and old as at. Its most recent sense originated from the @ symbol in social media usernames, which can be used to tag someone, such as when calling them out for some opinion they’ve stated. In this case, adding this verb sense of at to the dictionary also meant that the lexicographers had to research how the different tenses are spelled in the wild. For example, the past tense can be @ed or at-ed. At us if you want, but that’s how people use it.


adjective. (of clothing) designed to be close-fitting, and often made with stretchy material, so as to display the shape of the body; skintight.

bottle episode

noun. an episode of a television series set in a single limited or confined location, such as a hotel room or a broken elevator, and often using only a few regular cast members, sometimes undertaken as a cost-cutting measure or as a creative challenge.


noun. a subgenre of speculative fiction and art that shows optimism, gentleness, kindness, and collaboration to be effective weapons in the fight to create a better future.


noun. dystopian fantasy fiction characterized by harsh settings, extreme violence, and a bleak, fatalistic perspective on the future of humanity.

Harness that dark vibe by entering our Haunting Hooks Scary Story Opener Writing Contest. This year’s theme: Sci-Fi. Enter here.


tex: "very online" overlaid on an image of cursor arrows


noun. the practice of organizing or participating in a coordinated campaign of online harassment against a targeted individual or group, especially on social media.

review bomb

noun. to manipulate an online rating system with a semiorganized campaign of unfavorable user reviews, often as a general statement of disapproval for a creator, a publisher, or other business, rather than a genuine opinion about a specific product or experience.

Example: The game was review bombed by angry players after the publisher blocked fan-created content.

shadow ban

noun. the suppressing from public view of a social media post or posts by platform moderators, without notifying the user who published the content, usually in response to a violation of the platform’s terms of service.

sock puppet

noun. a false name or identity assumed by an internet user, often to deceive or to preserve the user’s anonymity.

🧐 Editor’s note: This sense of sock puppet emerged in the early 2000s and continues to have relevance. A recent prominent use relates to Russian online disinformation campaigns.

tex: "sports" overlaid on an image of a baseball game

Ohtani rule

noun. a rule that allows the pitcher to be assigned to the designated hitter spot in the batting order and to remain as the designated hitter even if replaced on the mound by another pitcher.

🧐 Editor’s note: The rule, made official by Major League Baseball in 2022, is named for MLB phenom Shohei Ohtani, whose exceptional performance as both a pitcher and a hitter gave rise to it.

ghost runner

noun. a runner who is automatically placed on second base at the beginning of each half of an extra inning, before any pitch is thrown.


noun. a game, similar to tennis and badminton, played indoors or outdoors on a court with a low net, using a short-handled, lightweight paddle and a perforated plastic ball.

tex: "neurodiversity & learning" overlaid on an image of a hand raised in the air.

dyslexic thinking

noun. an approach to problem solving, assessing information, and learning, often used by people with dyslexia, that involves pattern recognition, spatial reasoning, lateral thinking, and interpersonal communication.

🧐 Editor’s note: Read more about how we added dyslexic thinking to the dictionary—and how it was added as a skill on LinkedIn.


noun. the repetition of physical movements or articulated noises exhibited by people, especially young children and those with autism spectrum disorders, in reaction to a mental or emotional state.

Example: Stimming, like covering my ears while repeating a sound, can soothe intense feelings and bring back my sense of control.

🧐 Editor’s note: This term is new to our dictionary, but it’s actually been in use since at least the 1980s. Its addition reflects an overdue focus on neurodiversity and the terms used by neurodiverse people themselves. Part of this focus is the important acknowledgement that the ways people experience neurodiversity vary widely, as do the associations that often accompany words like stimming, which may be positive for some but negative for others.

social-emotional learning

noun. the process of acquiring interpersonal and emotional skills such as empathy, cooperation, conflict resolution, self-awareness, and self-control. Abbreviation: SEL.

tex: "gender & relationships" overlaid on an image of two holding hands.

bachelorx party

noun. an inclusive pre-wedding party, often on the night before or in the days leading up to the wedding, and ranging from a night of drinking to a destination vacation (used in contrast to bachelor party and bachelorette party, and intended to be welcoming for wedding participants and guests of any gender).

See also: bachelorx.

🧐 Editor’s note: Bachelorx is another example of the recent practice of using the letter x to create gender-neutral terms, as seen in words like Latinx and Mx.


noun. a type of gender-neutral pronoun, coined after 1800, and used especially by nonbinary and genderqueer people, as in English ze/hir/hirs, e/em/eirs, or xe/xem/xyrs.

nounself pronoun

noun. a type of invented gender-neutral pronoun used by some nonbinary and genderqueer people in place of gendered pronouns such as he/himself or she/herself to express a spiritual or personal connection to a specific concept: the nounself pronoun is derived from a word, usually a noun, that is linked to that concept, such as the use of star/starself by people who feel a connection to celestial objects or bun/bunself, derived from bunny, by people who feel a connection to rabbits.

Example: Orion chose stars nounself pronouns as one way to remind starself that star is always connected to the sky above star.

Here are just a few examples of nounself pronouns and their different grammatical forms. 


adjective. ​​noting or relating to a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to other people.


adjective. noting or relating to a person who is sexually attracted only to people with whom they already have an emotional bond.

masculine of center

adjective. noting or relating to a person, especially an LGBTQ+ person, who is more masculine than feminine on a spectrum of gender expression.

feminine of center

adjective. noting or relating to a person, especially an LGBTQ+ person, who is more feminine than masculine on a spectrum of gender expression.


adjective. noting or relating to a person who does not name their gender or sexuality.


noun. the practice or state of marriage to one’s self.

Endonyms & Exonyms

Maintaining a dictionary involves more than just adding words. In recent months, our lexicography team has worked to make revisions to entries involving endonyms and exonyms, particularly for Ukrainian places and Indigenous names.

🤔 Did you know?

An endonym is a name that an ethnic, racial, or social group uses for itself or its language; it can also mean a name used to refer to a place by its inhabitants (endo- means “within”; -nym means “name”).

In contrast, an exonym is a name used by outsiders (exo- means “outside”).

Ukrainian place names and pronunciations

More than 40 entries involving Ukrainian place names were either added or updated to reflect and prioritize the Ukrainian spellings or pronunciations (rather than the Russian versions that have traditionally been recorded). Examples include:

Entries with Russian-spelled Ukrainian place names are now specifically defined as such and cross-referenced to the primary entries with Ukrainian spellings.

Indigenous names

In the context of Indigenous names, changes include the addition of names that Indigenous Peoples use for themselves (as opposed to names applied to them by others, many of which persist in outside use today). In addition, several entries have been revised to show the endonym as the primary spelling and pronunciation. Examples include Mi’kmaq, Ojibwe, and CHamoru.

In some cases, more than one name is used by members of a community. As explained in the language note for the newly added term Diné, the name comes from the Native Athabascan language of the people also known as the Navajo. It is preferred by many over Navajo, a name assigned by Spanish missionaries. Nevertheless, Navajo and Navaho are still in use and remain acceptable.

Our work to properly reflect endonyms is ongoing.

tex: "climate" overlaid on an image of the arctic


verb. to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide or other carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere by the activities of (a household, industry, country, etc.).

pancake ice

noun. a grouping of circular, flat pieces of ice with raised rims, formed by the accumulation of frazil and slush on the surface water of seas and large lakes.

tex: "politics & the economy" overlaid on an image of the Supreme Court


noun. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, born 1978, president of Ukraine since 2019.

🧐 Editor’s note: The ending of this transliterated spelling uses two y’s to represent a specific y sound in Ukrainian (which has more than one). It’s also the spelling that Zelenskyy himself prefers. Still, you’re likely to see the name spelled with one y in some news reports, reflecting a different transliteration.


noun. an identifier of or nickname for Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. president, alternately used with disparaging intent by opponents and with affection by supporters.

🧐 Editor’s note: This term follows the practice of referring to presidents—including both current and former—by their number in the progression of presidencies. The widespread use of 45 to refer to Donald Trump (by both supporters and opponents, as noted in the definition) is evidence of his continued prominence in political discussion and the news.

shadow docket

noun. a list of the cases resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court by unsigned procedural orders issued without full briefing, oral arguments, or lengthy written opinions. Compare merits docket.

🧐 Editor’s note: The term shadow docket is typically used in a way that implies criticism of the practice. A more neutral term for the same thing is orders docket. The word shadow adds this shade of meaning to other terms as well, often indicating that the thing being referred to is unofficial, secret, or difficult to detect. Notably, it appears in two other terms on this list: shadow inflation and shadow ban.

shadow inflation

noun. the phenomenon of decreasing quantity or diminishing quality of goods and services compared to a comparable purchase that previously had more value at the same price point.


noun. a decrease over time in quantity or in package size compared to the quantity previously sold at the same price point, resulting in a higher cost per unit for the consumer.

tex: "policing" overlaid on an image of police officers

school resource officer

noun. an on-site law enforcement officer responsible for safety and crime prevention at a school. Abbreviation: SRO.


noun. a crowd control technique, in which a line of police officers encircles demonstrators and confines them in a contained area known as a kettle.

young woman with arms outstretched for a hug

air hug

noun. the gesture of extending one’s arms as if to embrace another person (used as a greeting or expression of affection without physical contact when a physical hug is not possible or not appropriate).


noun. a woman who is the primary caregiver to her young child or children and also manages her own business.

tex: "for word lovers" overlaid on an image of a man with a full beard.

🧐 Editor’s note: These final three highlights aren’t new or even recent—sometimes it just takes a while for an obscure word to get on our radar (but we’re glad they did!). Why are all three p-words? Just a coincidence.


noun. a person who likes beards.


noun. the illusory perception of meaningful patterns or images of familiar things in random or amorphous data, as a face seen on the moon.


noun. a rustling or whispering sound, such as leaves in the wind; susurration.

Example: The psithurism from the breeze blowing through the Spanish moss made me picture the tree trunks as faces with windswept beards, but that’s because I’m a pogonophile prone to pareidolia.

Review our additions and updates from recent years:

Spring 2022 Update

Summer 2021 Update

Spring 2021 Update

2020 Update

2020 Coronavirus Words Update

2020 Slang Update

2019 Update

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