Every year, the folks who run dictionaries are forced to examine all the words human beings make up, as well as the was we misuse existing ones, and decide what makes it into the newest edition of the dictionary. This year's class of "new" words should resonate with geek culture, as we've got a few near and dear to us in there, including "fangirl" and "steampunk," though most of the words seem to come from technology and social media, like "big data," "selfie," and "hashtag." "Crowdfunding" is another entry for 2014, for you Kickstarter fans.
Here's some of the definitions:
fan·girl noun ˈfan-ˌgər(-ə)l - : a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something (First Use 1934)
steam·punk noun ˈstēm-ˌpəŋk - science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology (First Use 1987)
crowd·fund·ing noun ˈkrau̇d-ˌfən-diŋ - the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community (First Use 2006)
self·ie noun ˈsel-fē - 1. an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks 2. DC's dumb ass variant cover gimmick for August (First Use 2002)
Now that the dictionaries recognizes the existence of fangirls, maybe major comic book publishers will follow suit. Here's the press release:
SPRINGFIELD, MASS., May 19, 2014—Hashtag, selfie, and tweep join over 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary in 2014, available now in print and online at Merriam-Webster.com. These new additions to America's best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.
Crowdfunding joins big data and gamification, illustrating how technology is being used to understand and motivate behavior. A similar, if more playful, intersection of technology and human behavior can be seen in steampunk ("science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology").
In the area of more intimate relationships, catfish, a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes. Catfish was popularized by the documentary and television series of the same name and by last year's strange story of football player Manti Te'o's nonexistent girlfriend.
"So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods," explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. "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."
New culinary terms include pho ("a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles"), turducken ("a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey"), and the Canadian favorite poutine ("a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds").
Other notable additions include freegan, fracking, and Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Join the New Words conversation on Twitter using hashtag #MW2014NewWords.