On August 14, 2012, Merriam-Webster released the new word list for the 2012 edition of the popular Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Included in the list of words are F-bomb, sexting, and bucket list. The new words are a far cry from the terms first included in the original 1806 A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, compiled by Noah Webster.
Though some may find some of the terms a bit controversial for inclusion, it wouldn’t be the first time the new word list sparked contention. After Webster passed away in 1843, two brothers, Charles and George Merriam purchased rights to the dictionary and began revising the edition. Multiple changes and words have been added to the dictionary in more than a century and some have resulted in debate. One of the most notable controversies occurred when Merriam-Webster included the term “McJob” in their 2003 word list. The term indicates a dead-end, low-paying job and the McDonald’s corporation immediately took issue with the term.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word was first used in 1986. McDonald’s countered that there are many career opportunities for their employees and have sought to redefine the term.
Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski spoke about the new words in a released statement, “Some of the new words this year provide colorful images. Terms like ‘man cave,’ ‘underwater’ (when used to describe mortgages), ‘earworm,’ and ‘bucket list’ paint vivid pictures in your mind. They show that English-speakers can be very creative as they describe the world around them.”
Here are 15 of the new words included in the 2012 edition of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary with links to their definitions.
- aha moment
- systemic risk
- bucket list
- cloud computing
- man cave
- energy drink
- game changer
What do you think of the addition of the word F-bomb in the new listing?
You can find out more about the Merriam-Webster dictionary and Noah Webster in the resources below.
- Dictionary Lesson Plans: Teaching with the dictionary
- Noah Webster House
- Merriam-Webster on Facebook
- Merriam-Webster on Twitter
- Merriam-Webster Word Central for Kids
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