"F-bomb," "Sexting" Among New Words Added to Webster's Dictionary

If there’s one way to tell how our culture is transforming, it’s by seeing which new words Webster adds to its dictionary.

The Webster company annually updates its Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and this year, words such as F-bomb, sexting, bucket list and man cave are now included.

The F-bomb, however, has been receiving a rather controversial response. In a LA Times new poll, so far nearly 40 percent of voters say the F-bomb doesn’t belong in the dictionary because “It’s just too coarse.”

Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said:

It's a word that is very visually evocative. It's not just the F-word. It's F-bomb. You know that it's going to cause a lot of consternation and possible damage.

Stamper said that although the F-bomb dates back to 1988, when in a Newsday story a Mets’ catcher said he was giving them up, the word has recently been made famous by politicians.

"We saw another huge spike after Dick Cheney dropped an F-bomb in the Senate in 2004," she said. Biden did the same in 2010.

Other additions, such as sexting, e-reader and cloud computing exemplify how ingrained technology is in our daily lives.

Some new food-related words, like energy drink and flexitarian, also point out important cultural shifts. (We’re slammed with work more than ever and need energy drinks to stay awake. We also learned that meat isn’t the best for us and so we’re eating less of it.)

Depressingly, financial terms, including systemic risk and underwater, were also added to the dictionary, illustrating how the financial crisis and banking fraud has brought about a whole new set of consequences for Americans

You can check out the top 25 newest additions and their definitions here.

AlterNet / By Alyssa Figueroa

Posted at August 14, 2012, 12:36pm

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