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Language definition

455 New Ways to Beef Up Conversations and Copywriting

As someone who writes professionally, I’m often accused of using overly flamboyant language as part of everyday conversation, to which I typically reply, “God gave us all of these words so we might as well use them.”

Obviously, it wasn’t God that gave vocabulary to us but centuries of language development that was further cemented in most brains as part of the mandatory vocabulary learned by high schoolers in preparation for standardized tests. I’m not sure how many of those ACT and SAT words most recall, but I imagine there are a number that work their way into everyday conversation.

To keep things fresh, both the Merriam-Webster and Oxford American Dictionaries append new words each year. Last month Merriam-Webster announced the addition of 455 new words and definitions. Each year words are selected for addition based on entry criteria: their prominence – such as a myriad of terms related to the pandemic and vaccines – as well as demonstrated staying power.

Beyond super-spreader, long COVID and all things Coronavirus, here are some standouts from this year’s additions from the following categories:

  • From Tech & Science, we now see zero-day as part of our vernacular because of the prevalence of cybercrime but it is biz rot (the tendency of digital info to degrade) and Oobleck (a mixture of water and corn starch used in kids’ science experiments) that I will be looking for ways to use in conversation.
  • From Food, foodies will be glad to know that fluffernutter (the sandwich they’ve long enjoyed made of peanut butter and marshmallow crème) has finally demonstrated enough staying power to be official recognized by Webster.
  • From Medicine, halotherapy is an inhalation treatment for asthma, not extended time spent playing the video game of the same name.
  • From Pop Culture, dad bod made the list. Need I say more?

Check out these other new terms for more inspiration.

This post is courtesy of MMC Principal Jennifer Koon

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