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38 Surprising New Words and Expressions Added to English Dictionaries

‘Pessimize,’ ‘mountweazel,’ ‘confuddle’ are among the additions to our common vocabulary   

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As our culture evolves, so does our language. In response, dictionaries regularly add new words and expressions — including the 38 mentioned below. Each was added within the last year to either the Oxford English Dictionary (OED); (D), which uses the Random House Unabridged Dictionary as a source; or Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (MW). Some of the words and phrases can be found in multiple dictionaries.​​

Many additions make perfect sense — the OED added the meteorology term “derecho” (“A line of violent and sustained windstorms formed in association with a rapidly moving band of thunderstorms…”), for example.

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Others are strange but interesting, such as’s inclusion of “shower orange,” which (who knew?) is “an orange that is peeled and eaten under a steamy shower, the purported benefit being that the steam enhances the orange’s citrusy fragrance and creates a soothing experience for the person who is showering.” ​​Other notable additions to English-language dictionaries:​ ​

adultification, n.: “the action or practice of treating children or young people like adults in ways that are considered harmful or abusive” (OED)​​

binned, adj., colloquial: “put or thrown into a dustbin or wastepaper basket. Now often figurative (of a person or thing): rejected, discarded, or abandoned” (OED)

​​Blursday, n., informal: “a day not easily distinguished from other days, or the phenomenon of days running together” (D)​​

Chumocracy, n.: “a culture characterized or dominated by influential networks of close friends” (OED) ​​

chatbot, n.: “a computer program designed to respond with conversational or informational replies to verbal or written messages from users” (D)​​

cheffy, adj.: “characteristic of or befitting a professional chef (as in showiness, complexity, or exoticness)” (MW)​​

climate refugee, n.: “a person who has had to flee their home due to the negative effects of climate change” (D)​​

coffee nap, n.: “a short nap, usually 15-30 minutes, taken immediately after drinking a cup of coffee, the claimed benefit being that the energizing effect of caffeine may be bolstered by a sleeping body’s drop in adenosine levels” (D)​​

confuddle, v.: “to perplex, confuse, confound, or befuddle (a person); to muddle or mix up (speech, thoughts, etc.)" (OED)​​

cosplay, v.: “to dress up in costume as (a character, esp. from anime, manga, video games, etc.); to perform as (a character) while dressed in this way” (OED)​​

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cromulent, adj., informal + humorous: “acceptable, satisfactory” (example: “the continental breakfast was perfectly cromulent”) (MW)​​

decision fatigue, n.: “mental and emotional exhaustion resulting from excessive or relentless decision-making, especially the cumulative effect of small decisions that one makes throughout each day” (D)​​

doomscroll, v.: “to spend excessive time online scrolling … through news or other content that makes one feel sad, anxious, angry, etc.” (MW)​​

flirtationship, n.: “a period of repeated flirtatious behavior between two people; a social relationship which is based on and does not go beyond reciprocal flirting” (OED)​​

GOATED, adj., slang: “considered to be the greatest of all time” (MW)​​

headcanon, n.: “a reader or viewer’s personal interpretation of, or beliefs about, a fictional work, esp. an imaginative addition to an event, character, plot line, etc., which is not explicitly contradicted (nor explicitly confirmed) by the original work” (OED)​​

hostile architecture, n.: “design elements of public buildings and spaces that are intended to stop unwanted behavior such as loitering or sleeping in public by making such behavior difficult and uncomfortable” (D)​​

jolabokaflod, n.: “an Icelandic tradition in which books are given as Christmas presents and opened on December 24, after which the evening is spent reading the books: from a practice begun in 1944, when paper goods were among the most available items in postwar Iceland” (D)

​​jorts, n.: “shorts made of denim or jean: jean shorts” (MW)​​

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kinkeeping, n.: “the labor involved in maintaining and enhancing family ties, including organizing social occasions, remembering birthdays, sending gifts, etc.” (D)​​

mountweazel, n.: “a decoy entry in a reference work, such as a dictionary or encyclopedia, secretly planted among the genuine entries to catch other publishers in the act of copying content” (D)​​

nepo baby, n.: “a celebrity with a parent who is also famous, especially one whose industry connections are perceived as essential to their success” (D)​​

​​paraprosdokian, n.: “a sentence or expression in which the second part provides an unexpected resolution or contrast to the first part, as in I’d like to see you again, but I’ve lost my glasses” (D)​​

​​pessimize, v.: “to make less good, efficient, fast, functional, etc., especially in the context of computers or information technology” (D)

​​quiet quit, v.: “to do the minimum amount of work required for a job: to engage in quiet quitting” (MW)

rage quit, v.: “to suddenly stop participating or engaging in (something) in a fit of anger and frustration: to quit (something) in anger” (MW)

rizz, n., slang: “romantic appeal or charm” (MW)

simp, v., informal: “to show excessive devotion to or longing for someone or something” (MW)​​

smishing, n.: “the practice of sending text messages to someone in order to trick the person into revealing personal or confidential information which can then be used for criminal purposes” (MW)​​

spider sense or spidey sense, n.: “originally with reference to the fictional superhero Spider-Man: a supernatural ability or power to perceive things beyond the normal range of human senses, esp. impending danger. Later also in extended and allusive use, with humorous reference to a strong feeling of intuition or prescience, or an acute instinct or awareness” (OED)​​

swear box or swear jar, n.: “A container into which a person must put a specified amount of money as a penalty for swearing” (OED)

​​thirst trap, n.: “a photograph (such as a selfie) or video shared for the purpose of attracting attention or desire; also: someone or something that attracts attention or strong desire” (MW)​​

turnt, adj.: “stimulated or intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Also: extremely energized or excited; highly charged. Also with up” (OED)

​​UAP, abbreviation or n.: “unidentified aerial phenomenon (a mysterious flying object in the sky that is sometimes assumed to be a spaceship from another planet)” (MW)​​

underboobn.: “the area under the breasts; esp. the bare skin of the underside of the breasts when exposed by a crop top or other revealing garment” (OED)​​

wrongthinkn.: “belief or opinion that is perceived or condemned as socially, ideologically, or morally unacceptable, esp. because it does not conform to a dominant, prevailing political or cultural orthodoxy” (OED)

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