If you cheer for Tom Brady this week as the New England Patriots begin their new season, feel free to use the term “GOAT” at your leisure — it’s now officially in the dictionary as a way to discuss “the greatest of all time.”
That’s according to Merriam-Webster.com. The Springfield-based company Tuesday announced that it added more than 800 new words and meanings to its online database, a range of terms that were included based on their frequent use and shared understanding.
“These new words and definitions offer a window into how vocabularies evolve and expand,” the company said in a press release, “and reflect a wide variety of fields and endeavors, ranging from the technical to the conversational.”
So, what made the cut?
For starters, M-W has added “hangry” to describe that feeling when you’re starving, and, as a result, becoming particularly ornery. According to the dictionary’s definition of the term, to be hangry is to be “irritable or angry because of hunger.”
Speaking of getting hungry, Merriam-Webster also slid “medical marijuana” and “CBD” into the line-up, words that have had an increased presence in daily language and in print as pot legalization, decriminalization, and products containing CBD — “a nonintoxicating cannabinoid,” according to its meaning — become the norm in more states.
But beer-drinkers are seeing their terminology added, as well: “Hopheads,” which is defined as “beer enthusiasts,” and “flight,” a term heard at bars to describe a selection of beers (or wine) served up for taste-testing and sampling, can now officially be found online.
Then there are words tailored to those who are constantly plugged in to the Internet: “Instagramming,” which means the act of posting to Instagram; “bingeable,” a reference to watching episodes of a show back-to-back without pause; and, fittingly, “time suck,” are acceptable terms to toss around.
Emily Brewster, associate editor at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement that as language continues to do what it has always done — grow and expand — it’s important to keep up.
“As lexicographers, we are constantly tracking the ever-expanding lexicon, only defining the words that have demonstrated the kind of widespread, sustained, and meaningful use that shows they’ve become fully established members of the language,” she said.
Of course, the company doesn’t just add words willy-nilly. There’s a process, which requires research and citations, that determines what’s added and what’s nothing more than “a trendy flash in the pan.”
According to a blog post on Merriam-Webster’s website, “new words are added to the dictionary only when they have already been used by many people — often initially by specialists or subcultures. Then, gradually, a word’s use spreads to the rest of us.”
“The dictionary’s job is to report that usage as it enters the general vocabulary,” the company wrote.
In March, Merriam-Webster added glamping, subtweet, hate-watch, and welp — to name a few — to its word arsenal.