It’s a busy time for the American lexicon, and the folks over at Merriam-Webster are doing their best to keep up.
The Springfield-based company announced Monday the addition of 250 new words to its dictionary website, a collection of nouns, verbs and adjectives spanning a range of topics, from technology to sports to — of course — politics.
“Our aim is to catalogue the language, and we’re constantly monitoring it,” says Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster, adding that the company makes additions a few times each year. “When people are encountering words in their daily lives, we need to be aware of that and define them so people have a source to get the information they’re looking for.”
While some of the new additions are obvious enough — “troll,” meaning to criticize, harrass or antagonize someone publicly; “froyo” as a slang term for frozen yogurt — others are a bit more obscure.
There’s “word salad” (“a string of empty, incoherent, unintelligible, or nonsensical words or comments”) and “working memory” (“memory that involves storing, focusing attention on, and manipulating information for a relatively short period of time”).
One of Brewster’s personal favorites is “dog whistle,” “an expression or statement that has a secondary meaning intended to be understood only by a particular group of people.”
Here are seven of the more interesting additions, along with examples of how you might work them into an average, everyday Boston conversation.
Pregame: Existing or occurring before a game; a pregame party; the athlete’s usual pregame meal.
Example: “We had so much fun at the pregame on Sunday that we didn’t make it into the stadium until the second quarter.”
Onboarding: The act or process of orienting and training a new employee.
Example: “Jimmy and Tommy were just hired as part of the early-morning crew here at Dunkin’, and we’re doing everything we can to get them onboarded as quickly as possible.”
Front: To assume a fake or false personality to conceal one’s true identity and character.
“That guy with the ponytail tried to front while I was talking to Minnie Driver, but then my friends and I started asking him about whether he liked apples, and so he knocked it off.”
Bunny: In basketball, an easyshot (such as a layup) taken close to the basket.
Example: “The Celtics are going to need to make all of their bunnies next season if they hope to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.”
Ransomware: Computer malware that requires a victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files.
Example: “These Russian hackers got me pretty good with this ransomware, so now I’ve got to give them all of my Bitcoin if I ever want to see my Rob Gronkowski fan fiction Word documents again.”
The Internet of Things: The networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices (such as fixtures and kitchen appliances) using the Internet.
Example: “Thanks to the Internet of Things, I can listen to the best band of all time — the Dropkick Murphys — on four different devices at once,including my refrigerator.”Dugan Arnett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @duganarnett.