Merriam-Webster is at it again. The world’s leading dictionary has announced the addition of over 100 new words, both popular and obscure. While words like “catfish” and “fangirl” have certainly earned their place in the big book, others like “freegan” (an activist who scavenges for free food as a means of reducing consumption of resources) and “Yooper” (a nickname for residents of Northern Michigan) are less familiar. Why does “e-waste” deserve a spot in Webster when other, more relevant words have been excluded? For example:
Adorkable (adj.): adorable and dorky
There are plenty of words for that tall, lanky computer science major in your art class that understands all your Battlestar Galactica references and makes your heart flutter every time his dimples come out, but adorkable is the only one that truly fits. (If the image is still not coming to you: Seth Cohen. That is all.) In my opinion, the word is used so often among teenage girls, it deserves a spot in the dictionary and a plaque on the walls of Merriam-Webster’s headquarters saying “Word of the Century.” Then again, it’s also used most often to describe our very own Zooey Deschanel, so I might be a bit biased.
Shelfie (n.): a photo of one’s shelf (usually, one’s bookshelf)
I’ve discussed my adoration for shelfies on this site before, but in case anyone forgot (it has been a few weeks), shelfies are the next best internet trend. They make reading and interior design seem like enviable hobbies (in fact, they are) and they don’t typically involve overbearing filters and duckfaces.
Duckface/Duck Face (n.): a facial expression made by pushing out your lips
While we’re at it, duckface is another word that has been excluded from Merriam’s word archive. Now, don’t get me wrong: I hate the duckface trend as much as the next person, but that doesn’t erase the fact that it is a penetrating force in popular culture right now. To disregard it would be to ignore a major aspect of our culture. That is, the growing interest in examining personal appearance through media and social networks, and the growing influence of ducks in the animal kingdom. (Ducks, making their way up the animal food chain one quack at a time.)
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (adj.): extraordinarily good
Despite my best efforts, I found myself stuck in another dangerous Wikipedia cycle, bouncing from article to article in order to avoid doing any actual work. In the process, I stumbled upon this word from Mary Poppins and noticed a peculiar footnote. Apparently, the Oxford English Dictionary added supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to its archive in 1986, while Merriam-Webster has yet to do so. For a word that is so entrenched in our popular culture (I know the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song and I haven’t even seen the movie), I’m shocked that Merriam hasn’t found a spot for it in its database. I mean, I know ink is expensive and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is long, but it’s only one entry. Surely, we could remove “twerk” or “hashtag” and make some room.