Sign of the times: 21 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2018


If you’re still confused on how to properly use words like “dank” and “lit” casually in conversation, well… I can’t help you because every time I make an attempt, my younger 20-something coworkers tease me endlessly.

But, for better or worse, it is exactly these types of words that shape our culture and the world around us reflecting our ever-changing language, lifestyle trends, and values. You’re bound to recognize, and most likely actually use, quite a few of the new words being added to the dictionary as according to the Merriam-Webster website, they only add new words “when they have already been used by many people — often initially by specialists or subcultures.” And as these new words spread into daily and common usage by the majority, the dictionary records them making these words an official part of our language.

I’m sure we all had a lot of feelings when last year the terms “throw shade“ and “weak sauce” were officially added to our language and I have no doubt you’ll have some strong opinions on the new official entries of 2018.

This year, with our continued dependence and usage of technology in this digital age, many of the new words added for 2018 are, unsurprisingly, technology related or abbreviations and shortened words that we use most commonly in our texts or on the interwebs.  

21 of the newest dictionary entries of 2018:

1. Haptics

The use of electronically or mechanically generated movement that a user experiences through the sense of touch as part of an interface (such as on a gaming console or smartphone).

2. Airplane mode

An operating mode for an electronic device (such as a mobile phone) in which the device does not connect to wireless networks and cannot send or receive communications (such as calls or text messages) or access the Internet but remains usable for other functions.

3. Force Quit

To force (an unresponsive computer program) to shut down (as by using a series of preset keystrokes).

4. Instagramming

To post (a picture) to the Instagram photo-sharing service.

5. Biohacking

Biological experimentation (as by gene editing or the use of drugs or implants) done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups outside of a traditional medical or scientific research environment.

6. Fintech

Products and companies that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industries.

7. Marg

Informal term for margherita.

8. Fave

Informal term for favorite.

9. Bougie

Informal, usually disparaging: Marked by a concern for wealth, possessions, and respectability : bourgeois.

10. Adorbs

Informal: Extremely charming or appealing : adorable.

11. Rando

Slang, often disparaging: A random person, a person who is not known or recognizable or whose appearance (as in a conversation or narrative) seems unprompted or unwelcome.

12. Zuke

Shortened, informal term for zucchini.

13. Guac

Shortened, informal term for guacamole.

14. TL;DR

Too long; didn’t read — used to say that something would require too much time to read.

15. Time suck

Informal: An activity to which one devotes a lot of time that might be better or more productively spent doing other things.

16. Bingeable

Having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession: suitable for binge-watching.

17. Latinx

Of, relating to, or marked by Latin American heritage  — used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.

18. Gochujang

A spicy paste used in Korean cuisine that is made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, and fermented soybeans.

19. Mise en place

A culinary process in which ingredients are prepared and organized (as in a restaurant kitchen) before cooking.

20. Zoodle

A long, thin strip of zucchini that resembles a string or narrow ribbon of pasta.

21. Generation Z

The generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Whelp, there you have it. I can only imagine what new words we’ll invent for 2019 but I’m sure they will be totes adorbs (I don’t think I used those words right either…)

Read next: Blame it on my youth: The struggles of a coming generation