Keeping up with the Websters

New words are being created every day, many due to the influence of technology and social networking. Here are some fun new words that you have likely heard and used already … now sanctioned by Merriam and company.

  1. big data: data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools … as Ed Sullivan would say … it’s really, really, big
  2. catfish: someone who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes … gives a bad name to a pretty good fish (Have you ever seen the reality show on MTV? Oy.)
  3. crowdfunding: soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from an online community … political contributions come to mind … hmmmm
  4. fracking: injecting fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources like oil or natural gas … not exactly a new practice … but a seriously new name that sorta sounds like what it does
  5. freegan: an activist who scavenges for free food in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants as a means of reducing consumption of resources … ok, this is a little crazy and dangerous, not to mention potentially stinky
  6. gamification: the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something to encourage participation … I confess that we have been guilty here … but who knew there was a word for it. *laughs*
  7. hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet). Ahem … seems a little on the late side, Merriam, since we have been using this word for years.
  8. pho: a Vietnamese soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles, herbs and a protein (Yum. I think I’d like some mo pho please.)
  9. poutine: a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds … this one is a heart attack waiting to happen
  10. selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a cell phone especially for posting on social networks … guilty again
  11. social networking: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online … and again
  12. steampunk: subgenre of science fiction and fantasy steampunkliterature featuring 19th century society dominated by steam-powered technology. Steampunk has developed in recent years to become a craft and lifestyle movement.
  13. turducken: a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey … for those who cannot terducken 2decide and want it all (but the bones), I guess
  14. tweep: a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets … what?
  15. Yooper: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan —used as a nickname (um, why?)

Words in general fascinate me … and new word development is even more fun … and it’s easy to see how they evolve. As Cameo would say … Word up!


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