‘Selfie,’ ‘hashtag’ among 150 words added to Webster’s dictionary

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Popular 21st-century slang terms like “selfie,” “tweep” and “hashtag” are among the 150 new words added to the 2014 updated Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the publishing company announced Monday.

According to a statement from Merriam-Webster, the added vocabulary is indicative of the increasing influence technology, the Internet and social media has in contemporary society.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” Peter Sokolowski, an editor for Merriam-Webster, said. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

In the updated 2014 manuscript of the dictionary, words like catfish gain additional meanings — now, catfish also refers to an individual who intentionally establishes a deceptive social media profile.

“These are words our editors have decided to put in based on usage in the English language,” Merriam-Webster spokeswoman Meghan Lunghi told Reuters. “They look for widespread, sustained usage and when they think the usage merits it, they include it.”

Some of the new entries include:

  • Steampunk – Science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology.
  • Selfie – An image of oneself taken using a digital camera esp. for posting on social networks.
  • Gamification – The process of adding game or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.
  • Tweep – A person who uses Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets.
  • Hashtag – A word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that clarifies or categorizes the accompanying text, such as a tweet.