Language evolves constantly. Words
interpreted, and redefined on a daily basis. The concepts of the
described by these strange particles of sound and curious articles of
scribbles. Labeling those syllables and scripts is a constant ongoing
and each language’s official book of words is always behind in
creative implementations. To cover for their inadequacy, the
words they haven’t classified and documented “slang” as if the people
carelessly sling around expressions like pig slop. “It’s not language
say it is,” goes the mentality of the word-keepers. Haughty, cocky, and
snobbish all the same but language stops for no man, woman, or
tongue wags on.
Merriam-Webster Inc. seeks to
futilely keep up with the
changing times adding over 100 new expressions into their Collegiate
Dictionary’s new edition. The wordbook which originated in the 1800’s
Webster, the guy who turned English into “American”, adds these new
terminologies as a result of observing their usage over the years.
Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large
for the Springfield, Massachusetts
located dictionary publisher, explains:
soon as we see the word used without explanation or translation or
consider it a naturalized citizen of the English language. If somebody
it to convey a specific idea and that idea is successfully conveyed in
word, it's ready to go in the dictionary”
I don’t know. Do YOU understand what
I’m talking about if I use the word “edamame”? What about
“prosecco”? What does “soju” mean? “Mondegreen”? I have heard of “dirty
being used before but what about “Norovirus”? Is an “infinity pool” an
office betting contest or an endless billiards tournament? Have you
the word “Webinar” and what does that mean? How about “netroots”? I’ve
heard of that one a few days ago reading a political forum. Well
probably has heard of “Texas Hold ‘Em” so it’s not a total washout.
Gathered from the worlds of cooking,
news events, technology, and new products, these approved phrasings
bridged the gap from the jargon galaxy (sorta). And their approval has
some words decades to accomplished like in the case of “mondegreen”
“words mistaken for other words” as in James Brown’s or Bob Dylan’s
lyrics (Ha!). Minted and coined since 1954, ‘mondegreen’ came from an
Scottish ballad with one particular line that goes “laid him on the
With the trademark accent involved this began to be heard as “Lady
and somebody had a new word to play with.
Old rock ‘n’ roll lyrics like
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “There’s a bad moon on the rise” (from
1969’s Bad Moon Rising) get confused for
“There’s a bathroom on the right”. Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze from 1967
and its line “‘Scuse me, while I kiss the
sky” gets misheard as “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy” to often
effect. The Merriam-Webster squad got such a kick out of this
phenomenon that they are planning on asking people to submit their
misinterpreted lyrics on the company’s website.
‘Mondegreen’ like other long-watched
words join the word bible based on how widely they are used in
from newspapers all the way to technical manuals. Word-head Sokolowski
“They can float for decades. What that means for the most part is that
been used in more spoken forms than they were found written until
Merriam-Webster’s president and publisher, John Morse, remarks that the
cleverness of words created from the world of the internet makes them
grasp giving them staying power. Mr. Morse stands in teary-eyed awe,
kind of collective genius on the part of the people developing this
using vocabulary that is immediately accessible to all of us. It's
absolutely poetic.” Allen Metcalf, executive secretary of the American
Society and English professor at MacMurray
College in Illinois, thinks that the new entries that came
from the growing popularity of cooking shows and international cuisine
among the most lasting and useful of the latest additions. Prof.
his true feelings on past and present work in the dictionary’s word
“I'm kind of used to laughing at the choices these editors publicize,
time I'm impressed.”
But of course you all want more, so let me impress you with a
the new edition of additions for Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate
(there’s a very interesting addition under the letter ‘F’):
•Air quotes (1989):
gesture made by raising and flexing the
index and middle
fingers of both hands, used to call attention to a spoken word or
•Dark energy (1998):
hypothetical form of energy that produces
a force that
opposes gravity and is thought to cause the accelerating expansion of
•Dirty bomb (1956): bomb
designed to release radioactive
•Dwarf planet (1993):
celestial body that orbits the sun and
has a spherical
shape, but is too small to disturb other objects from its orbit.
•Edamame (1951): immature
green soybeans, usually in the pod.
•Fanboy (1919): boy who is
an enthusiastic devotee, such as of
•Infinity pool (1992):
outdoor swimming pool with an edge over
flows into a trough, but seems to flow into the horizon.
•Jukebox musical (1993):
musical that features popular songs
from the past.
•Kiteboarding (1996): the
sport of riding on a small surfboard
across water by a large kite, to which the rider is harnessed.
•Malware (1990): software
designed to interfere with a
•Mental health day (1971):
day that an employee takes off from
relieve stress or renew vitality.
•Mondegreen (1954): word or
phrase that results from a
something said or sung. From the mishearing in a Scottish ballad of
him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen."
•Netroots (2003): grassroots
political activists who
communicate via the
Internet, especially by blogs.
•Norovirus (2002): any of a
genus of small round
viruses; specifically, Norwalk
vegetarian whose diet includes fish.
bioactive, plant-derived compound (as
associated with positive health effects.
presenting oneself as someone else to
•Prosecco (1881): a dry
Italian sparkling wine.
•Racino (1995): racetrack at
which slot machines are available
•Soju (1978): a Korean vodka
distilled from rice.
•Subprime (1995) 1: having
or being an interest rate that is
higher than a
prime rate and is extended especially to low-income borrowers; 2:
obtaining a subprime loan.
motorcycle race held in a stadium on a
dirt track having
hairpin turns and high jumps.
•Texas Hold 'em (1995):
Poker in which each player is dealt
two cards face
down and all players share five cards dealt face-up.
•Webinar (1998): live,
online educational presentation during
participating viewers can submit questions and comments.
•Wing nut (circa 1900):
Slang: one who advocates extreme
Word is bond to the Associated
Press through SFGate.com.