Winter 2023 New Words: “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once”

Self-coup, latine, rage farming, petfluencer, nearlywed, hellscape, talmbout, cakeage. Explore the explosive variety of new terms and meanings just added to  

by Nick Norlen, Senior Editor

Historically significant moments. Stunningly advanced AI. Very expensive eggs. There is a lot happening out there, seeming as if it’s everything, everywhere, all at once. The events are relentless, but so is the pace with which language adapts to the changes—with new and newly prominent ways of referring to a wild variety of very specific things. 

Our lexicographers observe it all, documenting language change wherever it’s happening and defining the terms that help us to understand our times. The most recent additions to come from just about everywhere, spanning the multiverse-like complexity of modern life: they are at once serious (self-coup, rage farming, trauma dumping), amusing (petfluencer), and everything in between (liminal space).

What’s in this dictionary update

As always, this update includes not only words that are new to the dictionary, but also new and revised senses of existing terms (including extremely well-known ones like sex and woke), as well as other changes, such as the spelling we use for particular headwords (notably, we now use the spelling antisemitism for the primary headword—a change whose significance we’ll explain below). 

Remember, words that are new to the dictionary are not always new to the language (or even remotely recent). Furthermore, the addition of a word to the dictionary is not an endorsement, but rather a documentation of its use in the real world. Our mission is to be descriptive—we work to describe and document language as it is really used (not just how we or others may want it to be used).

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

Now, here’s the breakdown for this release:

Of course, some of the terms in the list below have more than one definition. We’ll be highlighting the most prominent or notable meanings relevant to this release.

A Multiverse of Vocabulary



noun. a fee charged by a restaurant for serving a cake brought in from outside.

📝 The word cakeage (often used in the phrase cakeage fee) is modeled on corkage, the term for the fee charged for bringing wine to a restaurant.

digital nomad

noun. a person who works remotely while traveling for leisure, especially when having no fixed, permanent address. 

📝 The term is newly prominent, but the first records of it date to the late ’90s. See also: digital native


noun. a person who lives with another in a life partnership, sometimes engaged with no planned wedding date, sometimes with no intention of ever marrying. 

📝 Nearlywed is modeled on newlywed, which is most often used in the plural to refer to a recently married couple. 


noun. a place or time that is hopeless, unbearable, or irredeemable.

📝 This word is not at all new (records date to the late 1890s), but use has massively increased in recent years. 


adjective. becoming more robust when exposed to stressors, uncertainty, or risk. 

Example: We’ve made the structure sturdy and antifragile, so bad weather makes it stronger. 

📝 This sense of the term was coined by Lebanese-born US mathematical statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2012 book Antifragile


noun. an athlete, usually a pitcher or boxer, who is right-handed or competes as a right-hander. 

📝 Formed by analogy from southpaw, which has long been used to refer to left-handers.


liminal space

noun. a state or place characterized by being transitional or intermediate in some way.

noun. Informal. any location that is unsettling, uncanny, or dreamlike.

Example: The classroom when school is out for the summer is a liminal space.

Southern Ocean

noun. the waters surrounding Antarctica, comprising the southernmost waters of the World Ocean

📝 This body of water was formerly (and is sometimes still) referred to as the Antarctic Ocean. The name Southern Ocean has gained in use as it has been officially recognized by cartographers, geographers, and oceanographers (who regard it as a body of water distinct from the other four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic). 

Modern Problems

As new phenomena proliferate in our complex modern world, new terms emerge to capture their specificity—a process shaped and accelerated by online culture and digital discourse. This is especially the case for behaviors considered toxic or harmful; those wishing to shine a spotlight on such practices often do most effectively by giving them a specific name.

rage farming

noun. Informal. the tactic of intentionally provoking political opponents, typically by posting inflammatory content on social media, in order to elicit angry responses and thus high engagement or widespread exposure for the original poster.

📝 This term was coined in 2022 (in the form rage farmed) by investigative reporter John Scott-Railton. Read about some other terms for negative practices that play out exclusively online.  

trauma dumping

noun. unsolicited, one-sided sharing of traumatic or intensely negative experiences or emotions in an inappropriate setting or with people who are unprepared for the interaction. 


noun. an instance or practice of acknowledging and promoting the civil liberties of the LGBTQ+ community, but superficially, as a ploy to divert attention from allegiances and activities that are in fact hostile to such liberties. 

📝 Other unrelated senses of this term are used in the context of breast cancer awareness and research. 


noun. Slang. a marketing technique involving intentional homoeroticism or suggestions of LGBTQ+ themes intended to draw in an LGBTQ+ audience, without explicit inclusion of openly LGBTQ+ relationships, characters, or people. 


noun. an act or instance of sending someone unsolicited, unwanted, sexually explicit images or video using digital platforms.




abbreviation. woman of color: a woman of color; a nonwhite woman.

📝 See also: POC and BIPOC


adjective. of or relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used especially by Spanish speakers in place of the anglicized gender-neutral form Latinx, the masculine form Latino, or the feminine form Latina).

📝 The capitalized form Latine is also used. It’s important to note that preferences around these terms vary widely, and some speakers change which term they use depending on the situation. We’ll continue to capture new terms and uses as they evolve and continue to be discussed. Read about the difference between Latine and Latinx.

native language

noun. a language that a person acquires fully through extensive exposure in childhood. 

Example: My native language is Polish, but I also speak English fluently.

heritage language

noun. a language used at home and spoken natively by the adults in a family, but often not fully acquired by subsequent generations whose schooling and other socialization occurs primarily in a different language, usually a dominant or official language in the surrounding society. 

Example: For me, Polish is a heritage language—I understand it from hearing my parents speak, but I can’t really write in it very well.


adjective. opposed, hostile, or averse to fatness and fat people.

📝 This term is sometimes used interchangeably with fatphobic.

📖 Headword update: antisemitism

In our most recent dictionary update, we changed the spelling of the primary headword from anti-Semitism to antisemitism. (The entry still notes the form anti-Semitism, which remains in widespread use.) 

This change does not involve a new definition. The word, as always, means “discrimination against or prejudice or hostility toward Jews.”

Our decision to use the closed (no hyphen) and fully lowercase spelling antisemitism for the primary headword reflects the fact that this is now the widely preferred form. Jewish groups have long preferred the single word spelling, and many style guides, including those of major publications, have also adopted it.

The word Semitic is currently used as a linguistic term for a subfamily of Afroasiatic languages including Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Hebrew, and Phoenician. Many of those who prefer the spelling antisemitism note that the use of the spelling with a capital S can falsely imply prejudice against all of the diverse groups of people who speak any of these languages—which is not how the word is used. Furthermore, use of the capital S spelling is interpreted by some as reinforcing an outdated pseudoscience of race that has been applied to Jewish peoples. 

Notably, these factors are why some people prefer to use the more straightforward term anti-Jewish.

Sex, Gender, & Relationships



📝 Our update of the entry for sex includes revisions to multiple definitions that account for the current understanding of the range of ways the word can be used. See our new Sensitive Language Note at the entry, which addresses the many facets of sexual characteristics and how varied they can be from person to person.

sexual minority

noun. a member or members of the LGBTQ+ community, used especially in the context of discrimination against or advocacy for a minoritized sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


adjective. noting or relating to a person whose sexual orientation is fluid or fluctuates over time.

📝 The prefix abro- comes from the Greek habrós, meaning “graceful, delicate, pretty.”


adjective. noting or relating to a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of more than one gender, used especially as an inclusive term to describe similar, related sexual orientations such as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, etc. 


adjective. of or relating to two or more people of different genders.  

Example: This event invites mixed-gender teams of five people to compete in an escape room. 


noun. people; a variant spelling of “folks” (spelled with x not only as shorthand for the /ks/ sound, but also in parallel with other gender-inclusive spellings, like Latinx).

Pop Culture & Slang



noun. a person who gains a large following on social media by posting entertaining images or videos of their cat, dog, or other pet.

📝 The term is also sometimes used to refer to the animal featured in such content. Our lexicographers expect the ending -fluencer (from influencer) to be used in more compound terms (another example is grandfluencer). 

fan service

noun. material added to a work of fiction for the perceived or actual purpose of appealing to the audience, used especially of material that is risqué or sexual in nature.

Example: The scene where the fan favorite and the new character meet is pure fan service.

climate fiction (cli-fi)

noun. a genre of fiction, encompassing both speculative and realist works, in which climate change and other environmental concerns are major themes. Also called cli-fi.

ECS Pride Tifo at Sounders vs. NYCFC (2016) by SounderBruce. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0


noun. Chiefly Soccer. a coordinated display, including large banners, flags, and sometimes signs or cards, executed cooperatively or performed in unison by the most fervent supporters and ultra fans in the stadium.

📝 The term comes from Italian, in which it literally means “typhus (fever)”—leading to the figurative sense of “fevered, impassioned support.”


verb. a phonetic spelling representing an African American Vernacular English pronunciation of talking about, used especially online. 

Example: There’s a bear outside? What’re you talmbout?

📝 Standard, conventional spellings often do not reflect real-life pronunciations. We may write want to and going to, but we often say wanna and gonna. There is a long tradition of spelling words this way outside of formal contexts like papers for English class. This tradition particularly applies to dialectical pronunciations. In recent years, as more and more communication happens online, especially over social media, these colloquial, dialectical spellings have become increasingly visible. As a dictionary, we believe it’s important for us to capture these because they reflect how people communicate. As we spend more of our time communicating digitally, it’s a good reminder that we all have different degrees of register and formality in both our speech and our writing. 

The spelling talmbout is actually quite recent—the first written records of its use come from after 2014. It is just one example among many of representation—and appropriation—of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in pop culture and youth culture.


adverb. Slang. genuinely, sincerely, or truly; in fact. 

Example: I’m deadass about to quote that speech to you. 

📝 Deadass is surprisingly flexible. As an adverb, it can also mean “very” or “extremely.” It’s also used as an adjective meaning “serious” or “sincere” and as an interjection to request confirmation of truth or to express surprise, similar to saying “Seriously?” Deadass has recently gained prominence as a slang term, but it is not new. It dates back to at least the 1960s in its original meaning of “wholly or completely.” It is yet another example of a slang term popularized by Black Americans that has since spread to—and been appropriated by—the broader culture, particularly young people.


noun. Informal: Often Disparaging. exhibition of emotional overreaction, as anxiety or alarm, to events, especially major decisions or outcomes. 

Example: No doubt the executive order will be received by environmentalists with the usual bedwetting.

📝 This crude term is also sometimes used as an adjective. 


noun. Slang: Vulgar. the region between the anus and the genitalia; perineum.

📝 Alas, our noble lexicographers follow the language wherever it takes them.

Politics & Current Events



noun. a coup d’état performed by the current, legitimate government or a duly elected head of state to retain or extend control over government, through an additional term, an extension of term, an expansion of executive power, the dismantling of other government branches, or the declaration that an election won by an opponent is illegitimate.

📝 Self-coup entered English as a translation of the Spanish autogolpe, which we’ve also added to the dictionary due to occasional usage in English. 


adjective. Disparaging. of or relating to a liberal progressive orthodoxy, especially promoting inclusive policies or ideologies that welcome or embrace ethnic, racial, or sexual minorities.

📝 The addition of this disparaging sense of the term reflects a significant increase in its use in recent years, one that in many contexts has overtaken the positive sense. 


noun. the false belief that one can enjoy the benefits of two choices that are in fact mutually exclusive, or have it both ways. 

📝 The first records of the term come from 2016. Derived from the expression “to have one’s cake and eat it, too,” the term is especially associated with Brexit and Boris Johnson. 


noun. a right-wing ideology that blames environmental harm mainly on poorer nations and on marginalized groups, such as immigrants and people of color in richer nations, and that consequently advocates remedial measures that unfairly target or even attack people who are already oppressed. 

burn pit

noun. US Military. an often expansive area, at or adjacent to a base of operations, used for the uncontrolled, open-air burning of military waste, including plastics, chemicals, rubber, paint, fuels, munitions, human and medical waste, metals, and electronics: generative of toxic smoke and fumes that have been associated with a number of short- and long-term ailments suffered by exposed military personnel and civilians. 

forever chemicals 

plural noun. long-lasting chemicals, including PFAS and hydrofluorocarbons, used in the manufacture of common household items such as refrigerators, nonstick cookware, and flame-resistant furniture, that remain in the environment because they break down very slowly, and subsequently accumulate within animals and people. See also biological accumulation.

📝 The term PFAS is also a new addition to the dictionary. 


noun. a relatively inexpensive payment for part of a product or for an upgraded service or experience: often at the core of an alternative sales and revenue model for businesses to maximize profit with a very large volume of piecemeal or à la carte sales, rather than a single lump sum transaction for each full product sold. 

Example: Developers call this genre of game free-to-play, but the fact is you’ll never succeed without shelling out microtransactions at every level for the gear your character will need.

family office

noun. a financial advisory firm for extremely wealthy private individuals that is designed to offer comprehensive management of all assets, especially one that serves a single family.




(in the United States) the telephone number for a mental health crisis hotline staffed by licensed counselors and other staff trained in suicide prevention.

📝 The 988 hotline was launched in 2022. The 911 system dates back to 1968. 


noun. Microbiology, Pathology. a genetically distinct form of a virus, bacteria, or other microorganism, which arises when a variant of the original strain mutates.


noun. Pathology. anyone who, for unverified reasons, remains uninfected or asymptomatic even after repeated exposure to a contagious virus. 


noun. Pharmacology. an opioid antagonist, C19H21NO4, used to reverse the acute respiratory depression that occurs with opioid overdose. 

📝 This dictionary update also includes the addition of the headword Narcan, a specific brand name of naloxone. 


noun. the practice of taking or administering very small amounts of a psychoactive drug, such as cannabis, LSD, or psilocybin, to improve mood or enhance cognitive functioning, without hallucinogenic or other disorienting effects.

📝 The base word microdose can be used as both a noun and a verb.


This update includes several new entries and definitions pertaining to gaming and game development, including: 



There are, blessedly, almost countless different variations and preparations of bread. As more and more of these varieties become familiar outside of the cultures in which they originated, their names become part of the English lexicon. 

Baked into this dictionary update are many new and revised entries involving breads from culinary cultures around the world, including: 

Review our additions and updates from recent years:

Fall 2022 Update

Spring 2022 Update

Summer 2021 Update

Spring 2021 Update

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