TIME language

Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Jeggings,’ ‘NSFW,’ and ‘Sharing Economy’

Dictionary
Getty Images

The American dictionary added 1,700 new words to its ranks

Have you ever struggled to define exactly what WTF means when awkwardly responding to a curious grandparent? Well, flounder no longer. That acronym, along with about 1,700 new entries, have just been defined in Merriam-Webster’s latest update to their unabridged online dictionary.

The American reference provided a selection of the new words on its blog. Many embody our modern obsession with digital life (clickbait, NSFW, emoji). Others will teach future generations about the curious fashion choices of people living in the early 21st century (jeggings). And still others provide a linguistic term for our tendency to mishear Elton John lyrics as “Hold me closer, Tony Danza” instead of “Hold me closer, tiny dancer” (eggcorn).

Here are the definitions that the lexicographers at M-W came up with for this latest reflection of who English speakers are and what we care about:

WTF (abbrev.)
Definition: what the f—, used especially to express or describe outraged surprise, recklessness, confusion or bemusement.

NSFW (abbrev.)
Definition: not safe for work; not suitable for work, used to warn someone that a website, email attachment, etc., is not suitable for viewing at most places of employment.

jeggings (n.)
Definition: a legging that is designed to resemble a tight-fitting pair of denim jeans and is made of a stretchable fabric.

photobomb (v.)
Definition: to move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.

eggcorn (n.)
Definition: a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as part of a set expression.

meme (n.)
Definition: an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.

clickbait (n.)
Definition: something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.

colossal squid (n.)
Definition: an extremely large squid occurring in deep waters of the Southern Ocean that is the largest known living invertebrate.

net neutrality (n.)
Definition: the idea, principle or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination.

emoji (n.)
Definition: any of various small images, symbols or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.

sharing economy (n.)
Definition: economic activity that involves individuals buying or selling usually temporary access to goods or services, especially as arranged through an online company or organization.

click fraud (n.)
Definition: fraud committed by clicking through an advertisement on a website multiple times to spuriously increase the cost to the advertiser.

dark money (n.)
Definition: money contributed to nonprofit organizations that is used to fund political campaigns without disclosure of the donors’ identities.

upcycle (v.)
Definition: to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item.

sriracha (n.)
Definition: a pungent sauce that is made from hot peppers pureed with usually garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar and that is typically used as a condiment.

twerk (v.)
Definition: sexually suggestive dancing characterized by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks, especially while squatting.

vocal fry (n.)
Definition: a vocal effect produced by very slow vibration of the vocal cords and characterized by a creaking sound and low pitch.

Read More: Get Your Creak On: Is ‘Vocal Fry’ a Female Fad?

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Readers,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team