When Filter Bubbles Collide: Unraveling the Garbled Nonsense [Fri. 09/09]

# Merriam-Webster Adds 370 New Words to the Dictionary for September 2022

Merriam-Webster recently announced the addition of 370 new words to the dictionary for September 2022. While this is certainly a significant update, it’s important to note that it still falls short of capturing the rapidly evolving language of the internet. In an era where we often communicate through imagery and in-jokes that defy simple word definitions, the traditional dictionary is struggling to keep up.

The new additions span various categories, including business, technology, health, and more. Many of these words have become part of our everyday lexicon, particularly in the context of the pandemic and remote work. However, there are also some surprises, such as terms related to the natural world and being outdoors.

For example, we now have words like “atmospheric river,” which refers to a concentrated band of water vapor flowing through the atmosphere, and “magnet fishing,” which describes the hobby of using a strong magnet attached to a rope to find metal objects in bodies of water[^1^].

The update also includes a few space-related terms, such as the lowercase general version of “Space Force,” which now encompasses the military organizations for space warfare of any nation, not just the US Space Force. Additionally, “terraform” has been added as a verb, referring to the process of transforming a planet or moon to support human life[^1^].

While many of the words on the list may seem familiar, there are also several that originated from gaming or online culture. Some of these words have roots in African-American Vernacular English and have now gained widespread usage, such as “level up,” “larp,” “cringe,” “yeet,” and “pwn”[^2^].

Miriam-Webster acknowledges that words in the slang and informal language category have traditionally taken longer to be included in the dictionary. However, due to the accelerating adoption of informal language on the internet, this timeline is getting shorter[^2^]. Apps like TikTok and platforms like Twitter serve as breeding grounds for new buzzwords and internet culture evolves at a breakneck speed[^2^].

It’s worth noting that internet slang goes beyond individual words. Mashable recently explored the use of emojis as a form of linguistic expression. For example, the crab emoji has gained popularity as a way to express jubilation or celebration over someone’s misfortune. This trend originated from a viral video of crabs raving to a song, which has now become a symbol of farewell or good riddance to public figures[^3^].

The challenge with incorporating slang, memes, and emojis into dictionaries is that they often convey deeper emotions and references that single words can’t capture. They also change rapidly, making it difficult for dictionaries to keep up with the pace of turnover[^3^]. Despite this, some memes and in-jokes have a lasting impact and resurface at just the right moment[^3^].

In summary, Merriam-Webster’s recent update is a step towards capturing the evolving language of the internet, but it still falls short of the rapid changes happening online. The incorporation of slang, memes, and emojis has its challenges, but it reflects the dynamic nature of language in the digital age.


[^1^]: [Merriam-Webster: New Words in the Dictionary for September 2022](
[^2^]: [Gizmodo: Merriam-Webster Added a Bunch of Internet Slang to the Dictionary](
[^3^]: [Mashable: The Real Meaning Behind the Crab Emoji is Darker Than You Think](

Merriam-Webster has added 370 words to the dictionary, but it’s not enough to keep up with the changing pace of language on the internet, especially as we increasingly communicate with imagery and in-jokes that transcend single word definitions. Plus, why more and more fast food chains are ditching dining areas, and what that means for our options for communal gathering.

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We Added 370 New Words to the Dictionary for September 2022 (Merriam-Webster)
Cringe: Merriam-Webster Added a Bunch of Internet Slang to the Dictionary (Gizmodo)
The real meaning behind the crab emoji is darker than you think (Mashable)
Tumblr had a real big day yesterday (Garbage Day)
Fast-food chains like Taco Bell, Dunkin’, and Panera are ditching dining areas for drive-thrus and mobile ordering. (Slate)
Taco Bell Defy tests the future of fast food with ‘tacos from the sky’ (Washington Post)
Tue. 06/14 – The Once and Future Mall (Cool Stuff Ride Home)
Jackson Bird on Twitter

The Cool Stuff Ride Home is part of the Ride Home podcast network. You can listen to the audio-only version at the links below or wherever you get podcasts.
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