New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2019
English is one of the most popular languages spoken containing over a quarter of a million words, and that number is constantly increasing. As our world grows and changes, so does the language we use to describe it. New inventions and concepts need to be named, and new ways of using old words need to be explained.
Every April, dictionaries add new words to their collection. Teams of lexicographers scan books, newspaper articles, magazines, academic journals and other forms of media to assess how widespread the use of a potential new word is. If there’s enough evidence of the word’s usage, its inclusion is made official and published in the dictionary. This graphic explains in-depth how words enter the dictionary.
In 2019 the Oxford English Dictionary added 650 new words, and Merriam-Webster added 640. Most of these words come from Internet slang and pop culture. Some of them are so widely used that you might be surprised they’ve only just been added to the dictionary. Other words on the list have been in the dictionary for many years but have recently taken on new or additional meanings.
If you're learning English, it’s good to have an idea of the new words that have been added to the language. Even if you don’t use them much in everyday life, they could be a great conversation starter. Here are 10 of our favorites.
The popular orange-colored Italian aperitif served with prosecco, is favored in the warmer months. Once relatively unknown outside of Italy, it’s now become summer’s most trendy drink in bars and restaurants all over Europe and America. The cocktail made with Aperol is known as an Aperol Spritz.
"The weather is perfect, let’s have an Aperol spritz in the garden!"
Buzzy (adjective, informal)
To describe something as buzzy is to say it’s causing lots of excited chatter and attention, thereby generating buzz. This could be between people in person or excitement created online. This word is often used in relation to the entertainment industry.
“It’s hard to avoid seeing spoilers online for buzzy TV shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.”
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An acronym used to refer to someone who has won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards in their lifetime such as Whoopi Goldberg and Audrey Hepburn. This term was first coined by a winner of all four awards in 1984, Phillip Michael Thomas. It’s only now found its way into the dictionary.
"Today it’s not enough to have an Oscar, many in the industry want to become an EGOT winner."
Gig economy (noun)
A gig economy is an economic environment in which temporary flexible jobs are commonplace. These are usually performed by freelance workers or contractors. The name comes from workers getting paid for a ‘gig’ vs having a full-time job. Companies that have helped fuel the gig economy include Uber and Deliveroo.
“The gig economy has really taken off because nowadays people change jobs more often and like to choose how they work.”
This is a cross breed dog of a Maltese terrier and a miniature or toy poodle. A smol floofer. (If you were confused by that last sentence, you might want to read this piece on ‘DoggoLingo’. A poodle has been a popular dog to cross breed, with other new breeds including the labradoodle and cockapoo.
"I’m dying to get a little maltipoo puppy, it’s got the best bits of a Maltese and poodle."
To assign the wrong gender to someone. The concept of misgendering a person actually dates back to the 1970s, but it’s taken until now to be officially recognized as a word.
“I didn’t mean to misgender her.”
Screen time (noun)
This refers to time spent in front of a screen, like a laptop or smartphone. This is an existing compound term which first referred to the amount of time someone appeared in front of a camera in a film, dating back to the golden age of Hollywood cinema. However, today it refers to the excess time we spent in front of our digital devices.
I really need to monitor my screen time, especially before bed.
Stan (noun and verb, informal)
To be an extremely devoted fan of someone or something. The first mention of it can be found in Eminem’s 2000 song ‘Stan’ where he describes a devoted fan who went to extremes. The rapper Nas then mentioned the word retaining the same meaning in one of his songs and slowly the word gained popularity. Here’s the history of how ‘stan’ became a verb.
“She has millions of stans all around the world who love her music.”
“I stan for Beyoncé.”
Swole (adjective, informal)
When you describe someone as swole, it means they’re extremely muscular, with a physique like that of a bodybuilder. It generally refers to men and is often used with ‘get’. First entering Urban Dictionary around 2000, it quickly gained popularity within the workout culture until it made it into the mainstream dictionary this year.
"He got swole over the summer.”
To temporarily stop using electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. It’s the perfect opportunity to unwind and relax with no devices to distract.
“There was no WiFi in our hotel, so the vacation was a great opportunity to unplug."
Now you know our favorite additions, find out what other new words were added to the dictionary in 2019. How many of them have you heard of or used in your every day English?