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Merriam-Webster Inducts “F-bomb,” “Sexting,” “Man Cave,” and Others Into the 2012 Dictionary


It’s that time of the year when people who have say over such things get to decide when words we’ve been using for ages become real, legitimate dictionary words. That happens more than once, actually, since there are more than one legitimate dictionary, but this time around we get to see what Merriam-Webster officially considers a word. The list of words will be included in the 2012 update of the Merrian-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and it includes a hefty amount of casual slang, from “man cave,” to “sexting,” to “f-bomb.” That’s right, “f-bomb” is now a legitimate word, and you can drop them into messages while sexting from your man cave and Merriam-Webster will have your back if anyone calls your use of illegitimate words into question.

Among the sexting f-bombs, which immediately looks like a great name for a modern day Scott Pilgrim tribute band, Merriam-Webster included some less silly words, and also updated some definitions. The choice list that Merriam-Webster provided for us is as follows:

aha moment
bucket list
cloud computing
energy drink
game changer
man cave
systemic risk

A less ridiculous mix. If you’re wondering, an earworm isn’t being listed as a bug, it’s being listed as a song that gets stuck in your head that you can’t get out. People in the tech and blogging worlds would be pretty happy that “cloud computing” and “mash-up” are now legitimate words, but along with those words, we had to pay the “sexting” price. The pronunciation of “f-bomb” is fairly amusing to look at: ˈef-ˌbäm. “Underwater” is a term that existed previously, but was updated with a new definition related to mortgages: “having, relating to, or being a mortgage loan for which more is owed than the property securing the loan is worth.”

Merriam-Webster Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski, referring to some of the new words like “bucket list” and “man cave,” said they’re colorful and show that “English-speakers can be very creative as they describe the world around them,” which is a positive way to support adding “f-bomb” to your dictionary of legitimate words. We approve. Amusingly, Merriam-Webster used Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” to help explain the term “mash-up,” and it appears the folks over at Merriam-Webster spend a decent amount of time bouncing around YouTube. We continue to approve, and can’t wait to see what silly slang becomes official words in 2013. I have my heart set on “pwn.”


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