Most women have likely experienced the word ‘mansplain’ in action. Maybe you were watching the Olympics a few weeks back and a some guy began detailing (most likely in a condescending way) how the point system for hockey/curling/snowboarding/anything-but-figure-skating works, because sports! Females don’t understand sports, silly.
Your face probably did this:
The act of mansplaining is far from new, but the portmanteau that so accurately defines it has only been around since 2008. It’s become a word so frequently used in everyday vocab (unfortunate, really) that Merriam-Webster has officially added it to its dictionary. “To explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic,” is how it defines mansplain.
Mansplain is just one of 850 new words that the dictionary giant will added to its pages this year. Joining the term are other frequently-used favourites like ‘embiggen’, a word that long-time fans of The Simpsons will recognize. The official definition of embiggen, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to make bigger or more expansive,” though anyone who remembers the episode where Springfield Elementary School students learn the town’s motto, ‘A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man,’ knows that it’s already a perfectly cromulent word. (Sadly, cromulent didn’t make this year’s cut, but there’s always 2019.)
While words like embiggen are older and just finding their way into the limelight now, other terms describe new technologies that didn’t even exist when that 1996 Simpsons episode aired. ‘Cryptocurrency’ and ‘blockchain’–you know, like Bitcoin–for example, are both Merriam-Webster approved.
Considering the state of the world, words to describe unfortunate events also made the list, like ‘dumpster fire’ which the dictionary defines as “a disastrous event.”
A handful of interjections that are common in daily digital communication like texting or instant messaging, were added, too. Words like ‘welp’, ‘hmm’ and ‘ooh’ are officially apart of our official vernacular, according to Merriam-Webster.
If you’re a wordie–like a foodie, but for words–which is another addition this year, this list of new dictionary additions might seem like a gift from above. At the very least it’ll settle some Scrabble arguments. Or start some.