23 New Dictionary Words Introduced in 2018
Chances are, you've been using a lot of them for some time.
Every year, Merriam-Webster bequeaths society a gift: A bunch of brand-new words that have officially been introduced into the English language. This year, a mind-boggling 840 words were inducted into the dictionary’s vaunted pages. And here’s the TL;DR (that’s one of the new ones, by the way): You’ve likely already been using a whole lot of them.
From marg to mocktail, blockchain to biohacking, and all the slang and rando abbreviations in between, here are the newest words added to the lexicon in 2018. And for more on the intricacies of language, check out 15 American Words That Are Offensive in Other Countries.
Derived from the word “bourgeois,” bougie has been in the lexicon for about a decade now, but it just recently got added to Merriam-Webster’s official new dictionary words. Meaning fancy or marked by a concern for wealth or possessions, most people try to avoid being called this.
Example: “My friend is having a party tonight, but it’s pretty bougie, so you’ll want to make sure you kind of dress nice.”
Given the fact everyone seems to be a cord-cutter these days, it was only a matter of time until society introduced a term to describe how irresistible a show on a streaming service is. Bingeable comes from binge-watching, which is what all of us seem to do when we get hooked onto a new show and become incapable of turning it off.
Example: “I just started watching The Haunting of Hill House and, man, that is the most bingeable show I’ve ever watched. I seriously couldn’t turn it off.”
And if you’re looking for some seriously bingeable TV, check out these 13 Hulu Shows You’re Not Watching But Should.
If you’ve ever seen the letters TL;DR at the end of a long comment on the internet—generally affixed to the end of a forum post or comment on an article, then followed by a single sentence of text—and been stumped, don’t worry. It’s just an acronym, standing for “too long, didn’t read.” Basically, if you see a giant block of text and don’t feel like parsing through it, scroll down. You might find a TL;DR summarizing the comment for you.
Example: “TL;DR: Merriam-Webster added an acronym to their official lexicon.”
Short for a margarita, if you’ve gone out to a Mexican restaurant at any point in the last year, there’s a really good chance that you’ve overheard someone order a marg to drink. Hey, nothing wrong with a little abbreviation, right?
Example: “We should definitely go to El Borracho for happy hour tonight, because I’ve heard they’ve got the best margs in town.”
When’s the last time you went into a bank? If you’re anything like, well, anyone, you probably do all of your banking—depositing checks, paying off card balances, checking statements—through a mobile banking app. That’s where fintech comes from: it’s a catch-all term for any new digital tech out of the financial services industry.
Example: “For now, the impact that fintech is having on the economy is a positive one.”
And for some seriously savvy financial advice, check out these 40 Ways to Seriously Boost Your Savings After 40.
We’ve probably all heard of foodies—someone who lives to eat (rather than eats to live), and can rattle off culinary info and insight like it’s second-nature. Well, now, there’s an official linguistic version of the term: wordie.
Example: “My boyfriend is such a wordie, he actually corrects my grammar and punctuation in my text messages. It drives me nuts sometimes, but it’s kind of cute.”
And if you’re in the mood to boost your own wordie skills, learn these 47 Cool Foreign Words That Will Make You Sound Crazy Sophisticated.
That cranky feeling you get when you’re hungry and feel a wave of irrational irritation coming on? Yep, that’s the definition of being hangry, and we’ve probably all experienced it more times than we’d care to admit. Pro tip: It can be much worse when you can’t do anything about it and you’re trying to deal with other people, so maybe carry around a power bar (or two).
Example: “Sorry, I just can’t deal with this right now, I’m just starting to get hangry, so I’ll take a look after I get back from lunch.”
If you work in or with financial institutions, blockchain is a new dictionary word that you’re probably familiar with. If you don’t, well, here’s what blockchain means, in its most simple sense: it’s a digital database that contains records of financial transactions or bank statements, that are then often shared with a public network. The term is most commonly associated with cryptocurrencies.
Example: “The technology in the cryptocurrency trend is blockchain, which records all the transactions that you’ve done.”
If you’ve ever done something that took up way too much of your time, you might refer to it as a time suck. The term can be used to describe an activity that’s hard to put down because it’s mindless (scrolling through Instagram), tedious (building IKEA furniture), or—in rare cases, as the term is mostly negative—a total blast (hey, we’re not going to tell you what’s fun for you).
Example: “I really love the prices of IKEA, but, man, having to put together an entire dresser is a total time suck.”
One of the new dictionary words that has really taken off—especially over the summer and into the fall—is the term glamping. This is when people want to camp, but don’t want to deal with bugs, tents, campfires, latrines, sleeping bags, the elements, or anything, really, to do with the great outdoors. Instead, they set up fancy, well-equipped tents that more resemble a suite in the downtown Marriott than a tattered piece of tarp from L.L. Bean. Basically, it’s fancy camping.
Example: “Want to go glamping this weekend?”
If you’re a beer lover, especially of hoppy or bitter-tasting IPAs, you may find yourself being referred to as a hophead. It’s generally meant to describe someone who’s a bit of a beer snob. But, in some slang, it can also refer to someone who is struggling with drug addiction, so be careful with how you use it.
Example: “Dude, John’s such a hophead—he knows, like, all of the ingredients and aromas and stuff. It’s crazy impressive.”
And if you’re a bit of a beer snob yourself, you’ll love The Best Craft Beer In Every U.S. State.
The term airplane mode is simply the operating mode that passengers on an airplane are asked to set their cell phones to before taking off, so not to (potentially) mess with any other wireless signals being communicated between the plane and traffic control. In this mode, your phone becomes incapable of connecting to wireless networks, and can’t send or receive communications. Basically, it means you’re temporarily incommunicado.
Example: “Sorry, I didn’t see your last text before the plane took off. My phone was already in Airplane Mode.”
And if you’d like to live life in airplane mode more often, here are 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time without a Smartphone.
In the same way that hacking refers to the manipulation of computer systems (for either nefarious purposes or to just give your machine a little extra boost), biohacking refers to the manipulation of, well, biological systems. Things like gene editing, experimental drugs, body augmentation, and body implants (like microchips) fall into this category.
Example: “Don’t look now, but biohacking is the future.”
To see the possibilities biohacking 25 Expert Predictions About the Future That Will Excite You.
Being called a rando by someone isn’t the most endearing thing around, so we hope nobody describes you this way. Why? Rando basically means a random person who isn’t known or recognizable, or worse: is known and recognizable, but unwelcome. Ouch.
Example: “Some rando tried sliding into my DMs on Instagram, but I never responded.”
In ways big and small, 2018 was a huge year for women. And one of the huge byproducts is a new word to describe an all-too-common occurrence: Mansplain. Many guys like to think they know it all—or at least that they know more than women they may be speaking to. Often, this results in a guy “explaining,” in condescending fashion, a topic (say, politics or finance) to a woman who likely knows just as much, if not more, about it than he does.
Example: “Get a load of this guy trying to mansplain the word mansplain.”
When you go for a run, you’re running. When you eat something, you’re eating. When you’re using the Instagram app, you’re Instagramming. Yep, now, every time you share a picture or mindlessly scroll through your feed, you’ve officially got a verb for it.
Example: “I was too busy Instagramming to realize that I was next in line!”
Much like Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials before them, Generation Z describes the current demographic cohort, made up of people born between the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s hard to believe that someone born in the year 2000 is, presumably, a senior in high school, isn’t it?
Example: “Sure, Millennials can be a pain to deal with, but these Generation Z kids don’t even know how to communicate—they’re always glued to their phones!”
The greatest of all-time—that’s the G.O.A.T. This term is often used to describe athletes or entertainers—like LeBron James or Beyoncé—but it can also be used as a compliment about a friend for doing something nice, like landing court side seats to a Lakers game or backstage passes to a Beyonce concert.
Example: “It’s not even a debate. Tom Brady’s the G.O.A.T.”
Sure, a mocktail is a non-alcoholic drink, but it’s also so much more than that, thanks to the proliferation of fancy ingredients these days. For instance, rather than ordering a virgin marg, someone might get themselves a Tahitian Coffee, which has things like cold brew coffee, guava puree, and honey syrup mixed together to look (and taste) the part of a fancy cocktail.
Example: “Ooh, these mocktails honestly look tastier than the actual cocktails.”
One of the new dictionary words that no one wants to be called is a bubblehead, because it means someone thinks you’re a foolish or empty-headed person. We’re sure that’s not the case, but, hey, we all have our moments.
Example: “He was such a bubblehead about politics, he had no idea what he was talking about, so I’m surprised he brought it up.”
If you find something to be too cute for words, well, there’s now a word for that: adorbs, short for—surely this will surprise you—adorable.
Example: “It was so adorbs, he showed up to work on my birthday with flowers and chocolates as a surprise.”
When you just can’t deal with people anymore, that’s when you might want a little me time—otherwise known as time relaxing by yourself. From sitting around on the couch watching movies to listening to music as you go for a walk, these are times when you can unwind all on your lonesome.
Example: “It was so nice to just have a day away from work and just to enjoy a little bit of me time.”
If you’ve ever been in a situation where everything—literally everything—seems to go wrong, that’s when the term dumpster fire may be used. Hey, it’s happened to all of us, so, sometimes, you just need to call it like you see it.
Example: “Yeah, the wedding started out great, but, sheesh, after Jim got too drunk, it really turned into a dumpster fire.”
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