Merriam-Webster Adds Popular Pandemic-Era Terms To Dictionary


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The newest edition of Merriam-Webster's dictionary will have a few new terms. Leading the way, phrases that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic like "ghost kitchen" and "curbside pickup" have been added. Also, phrases related to the virus like "vaccine passport" and "long COVID" have been added to the dictionary.

"Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding. New terms and new uses for existing terms are the constant in a living language, and our latest list brings together both new and likely familiar words that have shown extensive and established use," the dictionary wrote in a press release.

"As we all know, the pandemic story isn’t over, and neither is the need for more vocabulary to describe the policy and research developments connected to COVID-19."

Aside from COVID-19 related terms, Merriam-Webster has also added phrases that have become common on social media. "FTW," "TBH" and "Dad bod" are among the 455 new terms and definitions added to the latest edition of the popular dictionary.

"We’ve been communicating online for decades now, and pandemic-related circumstances have only increased the practice. The quick and informal nature of messaging, texting, and tweeting has contributed to a vocabulary newly rich in efficient and abbreviated expression," the press release adds.

Beyond additions related to COVID-19 and social media trends, there were also Food related additions like "air fryer," medical additions like "fourth trimester" and political additions like "whataboutism." Miscellaneous phrases like "small ball" and "blank check" company are now part of the dictionary.

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