A Hater’s Guide to Merriam-Webster’s New Words for 2016

From “FOMO” to “nomophobia”

By The Editors

A Hater’s Guide to Merriam-Webster’s New Words
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31 May 2016

NPR’s Fresh Air recently ran a story on the English language’s most popular qualifier: “I feel like.” In it, linguist Geoff Nunberg argues that the age-old “the way kids speak these days” defensive — essentially that young people ruin everything, including language — is overblown.

Says Nunberg: “If the language really had been deteriorating all this time, we'd all be grunting like bears by now.” It's true, the day of the brute is yet to come. But, if you allow us to use an old adage: sometimes you eat the bear … and sometimes the bear adds new words to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

It’s new lexicon season over at Merriam-Webster, and this year, the dictionary added more than 2,000 new words phrases and senses to its Unabridged pages, reminding those of us above the age of 30 that these are trying times for language.

Below, a sampling of what the kids are saying these days, as annotated by a bona fide hater.

Athleisure
M-W Definition: n., casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use

I swear if one more dude — younger and much more fit than me — calls their outfit “cozy,” I will literally evaporate and rain down hot acid anger.

Bitcoin
M-W Definition: n., a digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer transactions

I’m still learning what the heck Bitcoin is. And what’s more confusing: who the hell’s Bitcoin’s creator? Why is the internet so hard?

FOMO
M-W Definition: n., fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing

Thank social media for an entirely new, modern and ugly emotional health condition. The only thing we should be FOMO’ing is society. Or, in a way the social media-obsessed will understand: #RIPsociety.

Meet-cute
M-W Definition: n., a cute, charming, or amusing first encounter between romantic partners (in a movie)

Because this tired rom-com trope doesn’t happen in real life.

TMI
M-W Definition: abbr., too much information

Shorthand will be the death of us all.

Hella
M-W Definition: adv. slang, very, extremely

You’re 40 years late, Merriam.

Wacky Tobacky
M-W Definition: n. slang: marijuana

Seriously? See above.

Nomophobia
M-W Definition: n, fear of being without access to a working cell phone

It’s short for “no mobile phone phobia.” We can think of a few things that should give you seperation anxiety, and your smartphone should not be one of them.

Visit Merriam-Webster for more info on 2016’s new word inductees.

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