Inspired by my last post (Blushing Bard) and the boatload of words that Shakespeare created, I decided to check out newly minted words now gracing the Merriam-Webster dictionary — an entertaining and instructive exercise for us as wordsmiths.
First, we see how incredibly inventive people are. Second, we see what’s on people’s minds and how they’re spending their time. Third, it’s always inspiring to see how adaptable the English language is – it’s never hidebound or written in stone. And fourth, some of the words that crop up might be fun to use in a story we’re writing or might even spark ideas for new stories.
Armed with all this potential, here’s a sampling of new words that have wriggled their way into Merriam-Webster’s. Not surprisingly many are “internet-bred slang terms:”
Binge-watch (v.): To watch many or all episodes of (a TV series) in rapid succession.
Conlang (n.): An invented language.
Face-palm (v.): To cover one’s face with the hand as an expression of embarassment.
Ghost (v.): To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.
Ginger (n.): A person with red hair.
Humblebrag (v.): To make a seemingly modest, self-critical, or casual statement or reference that is meant to draw attention to one’s admirable or impressive qualities or achievements.
Listicle (n.): An article consisting of a series of items presented as a list.
Microaggression (n.): Comment or action that subtly or unconsciously/unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.
Photobomb (v.): To move into the frame of a photograph as it is taken as a joke or prank.
Inspired – or alarmed – by these linguistic challenges and changes, let’s all write on!