Published on: May 21, 2014by Kevin Coupe
Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher, this week announced its annual list of words that it is adding to its pages, signifying that they have now entered both the popular consciousness and the official lexicon.
Among them "selfie," "hashtag," "catfish"(as a verb), "tweep," “big data,” “fracking,” “freegan,” “gamification,” “hashtag,” “pho,” “poutine,” “social networking,” “steampunk,” “turducken,” "crowdfunding," “tweep,” and “Yooper.”
I have to admit, that I didn't know some of these.
Catfish, for example, "refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes.”
Tweep is "a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets."
Yooper is “a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”
But the Eye-Opening question: How did it take this long for "social networking" to make it into the dictionary?
And another question: Aren't we sort of at the point where we don't need an imprimatur from Merriam Webster to make a word a word? In fact, this all happens organically … and usage in social media is a far greater indication of a word's legitimacy than approval from some dictionary editors.
Which is yet another lesson in the power of the consumer.
- KC's View: