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20 New Words Introduced in 2017

These words took over the cultural lexicon in 2017.

Language is an ever-evolving medium, but few years have seen as many new words enter the cultural lexicon as 2017. From angry admonitions from President Trump to new ways to express our admiration, these new words and phrases given to us in 2017 might just change the way we speak forever. If learning these 20 new words introduced in 2017 has you shook, try to relax with these 70 genius tricks to get instantly happy.


Woman on computer

Instead of listing all the ways for someone else to get in touch with you, keep it simple and tell them to ping you. While ping used to be computer-specific, it now means to get in touch digitally, regardless of the platform.


Angry man swearing

Added to the OED in September 2017, this term means exactly what it sounds like. If something is the worstest, it goes beyond your average measure of bad, becoming a source of derision in the process. For example, many people are saying that 2017 has been our worstest year yet. And for more ways to expand your vocabulary, here are the 30 Words That Will Make You Sound Instantly Smarter. 


Making fun of co-worker

Just because you wouldn't make an outright racist or sexist joke doesn't mean you're not guilty of microaggressions. A microaggression means a slight to a marginalized group, whether you're assuming something about a racial minority or accidentally dead-naming someone in transition.

Fake News

Newspaper on doorstep

If President Trump doesn't like what's being said about it him, it's clearly fake news.


NY Anti-Trump Rally

If you consider yourself culturally attuned, particularly to issues facing the black community, you might just be woke. This term has been used for a while, but the use of Childish Gambino's "Redbone"—the chorus of which begins with "stay woke"—at the end of Get Out certainly made its use more widespread. Even if you're not a film buff, these insanely quotable movies should earn a spot on your must-watch list.



If you've ever wondered what the grossest thing in the world is, image search the word fatberg. Added to the dictionary in 2017, this term describes a mass of congealed fat that has to be jackhammered out of our sewers.

Squad Goal

Friends drinking

If you see a bunch of friends something cool, go ahead and call it a squad goal. This term, used to express respect for a group doing something you admire, is an appropriate hashtag for everything from your family's Christmas card to photos of Taylor Swift and that army of Amazonian blondes that manifest whenever she's around. And for more great vocab news, here are the 40 words only older people say. 


Co-workers shaking hands

You used to just get an orientation packet and a pat on the back when starting a new job, but these days, you're getting onboarded. However, onboarding describes more than just the orientation process at work—it's also used to describe a holistic method of attracting and maintaining new customers for products.


Christopher Kimball Thanksgiving

Friendsgiving, that version of Thanksgiving that allows you to skip all the family stuff and load up on cocktails, just earned itself a spot in the dictionary this year. Luckily, even if your holiday plans are looking subpar, you can still make an amazing Thanksgiving turkey.


Winter festival

Want to describe where you'll be every Saturday until Christmas, but are short on time? Don't worry, the English language has got your back. Winterval, a term that combines winter and festival, can save you seconds each year, like when you're trying to expeditiously describe where it was that you got drunk on spiced wine.

Face Palm

Embarrassed woman

If you've thoroughly embarrassed yourself, or if you're feeling that way about someone else's behavior, go ahead and face palm. This word can also be used a noun: "Bridget's presentation this morning was a total face palm."

Clap Back

Clap back

The clap back has been part of our cultural lexicon for over a decade at this point, but the phrase really picked up steam in 2017. If you aren't familiar with the Ja Rule song that first popularized the term in 2003, it means to return an insult. If your disses aren't snappy enough, discover SNL vet Colin Quinn's recipe for making anyone laugh.

Side Eye

Man glaring

Is your significant other's co-worker getting a little too touchy? Is the person next to you at this restaurant definitely stealing the silverware? Give them the side eye. Side eye means showing your disapproval of a certain person or behavior, often through dismissive glances.


Couple outside

Heap some praise on whatever you're loving these days by giving it a resounding "YAS." Broad City popularized this AAVE-originated word, which earned a dictionary nod this year. Make it your own by adding a completely unnecessary number of As to it.


Man looking surprised

If something shocks or surprises you, go ahead and label yourself shook. This term is both applicable for serious situations and not-so-serious ones. "Seeing that car accident had me shook" and "seeing Nick Offerman without a mustache has me shook" are both appropriate.


Actress Greta Gerwig

Do you love low-key indie comedies? Does Greta Gerwig star in what you're watching right now? If the answer to either question is yes, you might just be a fan of mumblecore. This term describes dialogue-heavy films, often shot on a shoestring budget, that eschew overly-stylized writing in favor of more natural conversation and improvisation.


Anti facist protest

The Charlottesville Unite the Right rally brought the alt-right to the forefront of American culture. While their antics were once largely confined to internet message boards like Reddit and 4Chan, the alt-right—a group of increasingly emboldened white supremacists—became more visible than ever in 2017, demonstrating publicly, no longer ashamed to wear their hoods and swastikas out of their moms' basements.


Woman with abs

If you're trying to get healthier in 2017, start with some fitspiration. This portmanteau, often shortened to fitspo, combines the word fitness and inspiration. People use fitspiration to describe people or photos that inspire others to commit to their fitness goals. E.g., "Hugh Jackman's abs in Logan are totally my fitspiration."

Word Salad

President Donald Trump

Once a psychiatric term used to describe the verbal patterns of mentally ill patients, the term word salad is becoming an increasingly-used part of our political discourse. For example, "Donald Trump had a press conference, but he mostly just dished a lot of word salad about nuclear weapons, North Korea, and how enormous his hands look in person."


thaweerat / Shutterstock

Ice cream's vaguely garbage cousin finally got its due in 2017. While frozen yogurt has long been part of our vocabulary, froyo just got its own dictionary entry, meaning, more-or-less, "That gallon-sized cup of dessert I'm pretending is healthy, despite all the brownie pieces I just put on it." If your sweet tooth is getting out of control, rein it in with the 27 Smart Ways to Control Your Cravings.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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