TIME Culture

# Selfie, Steampunk, Catfish: See This Year’s New Dictionary Words

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This picture displays "nautical steampunk fashion." Renee Keith / Getty Images / Vetta

Merriam-Webster has revealed 150 new words that will be added to its collegiate dictionary this year, ranging from 'hashtag' and 'catfish' to 'dubstep' and 'crowdfunding,' most of which speak to some intersection of pop culture, technology and the Internet

Today Merriam-Webster, America’s best known keeper of words, announced new entries for their collegiate dictionary in 2014. Among them are telling specimens like selfie, hashtag and steampunk, reflecting lasting cultural obsessions that have become widespread enough to earn a place in the big red book.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” says Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski, in a press release. And that’s not all.

Many of the 150 new words do indeed speak to some intersection of pop culture and technology, like Auto-Tune and paywall. But others, like freegan and turducken, remind us how many modern Americans are bravely pursuing alternative eating habits, refusing to forego dumpsters as a regular food source or to consume merely one kind of poultry at a time. And though MW does not say as much, others remind us of what lasting influence Kate Middleton has in our society (See: baby bump, fangirl).

Here is a selection of the new words, with their definitions and the earliest year Merriam-Webster editors could find them being used:

Auto-Tune (v., 2003): to adjust or alter (a recording of a voice) with Auto-Tune software or other audio-editing software esp. to correct sung notes that are out of tune

baby bump (n., 2003): the enlarged abdomen of a pregnant woman

big data (n., 1980): an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools

brilliant (adj., new sense): British: very good, excellent

cap-and-trade (adj.,1995): relating to or being a system that caps the amount of carbon emissions a given company may produce but allows it to buy rights to produce additional emissions from a company that does not use the equivalent amount of its own allowance

catfish (n., new sense): a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes

crowdfunding (n., 2006): the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people esp. from the online community

digital divide (n., 1996): the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not

dubstep (n., 2002): a type of electronic dance music having prominent bass lines and syncopated drum patterns

e-waste (n., 2004): waste consisting of discarded electronic products (as computers, televisions, and cell phones)

fangirl (n., 1934): a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something

fracking (n., 1953): the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas)

freegan (n., 2006): an activist who scavenges for free food (as in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants) as a means of reducing consumption of resources

gamification (n., 2010): the process of adding game or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation

hashtag (n., 2008): a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that clarifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet)

hot spot (n., new sense): a place where a wireless Internet connection is available

insource (v., 1983): to procure (as some goods or services needed by a business or organization) under contract with a domestic or in-house supplier

motion capture (n., 1992): a technology for digitally recording specific movements of a person (as an actor) and translating them into computer-animated images

paywall (n., 2004): a system that prevents Internet users from accessing certain Web content without a paid subscription

pepita (n., 1942): the edible seed of a pumpkin or squash often dried or toasted

pho (n., 1935): a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles

poutine (n., 1982): chiefly Canada: a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds

selfie (n., 2002): an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera esp. for posting on social networks.

social networking (n., 1998): the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships esp. online

spoiler alert (n., 1994): a reviewer’s warning that a plot spoiler is about to be revealed

steampunk (n., 1987): science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology

turducken (n., 1982): a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey

tweep (n., 2008): a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets

unfriend (v., 2003): to remove (someone) from a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking Web site

Yooper (n., 1977): a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — used as a nickname

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