Its official: Selfie is now a real word Actor Jon Hamm, from AMCs Mad Men takes a selfie with his wax figure at Madame Tussauds museum in New York
Its official: Selfie is now a real word
Lexile

Did you know that the dictionary is growing? Even selfie is included now.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition has added 150 words. Many stem from digital life and social media. Spoiler alert, hashtag, selfie and tweep are included.

As for social media, well, that term is already in the dictionary, but social networking wasn't. Adding the latter was "just taking care of business," said Peter Sokolowski, an editor at large for Merriam-Webster. He's a word nerd and Twitter lover with nearly 11,000 followers.

Others added words are food driven, including pho and turducken, which is a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey.

Fracking also made it into the update. So did e-waste and freegan. A freegan is a person who scavenges for free food in store and restaurant trash bins as a way to reduce consumption of resources.

How are new words chosen for the dictionary? Merriam-Webster relies on a network of observers. They track down word usage in everything from newspapers to soup can labels. Three or four senior editors make the final cut.

Selfie, that thing with the smartphone that Ellen DeGeneres did at the Academy Awards, has now spawned shelfies. Those are photos people put up on social media to show off their books and how they have arranged them.

And we now have stealthies, those sneaky little phone pictures masquerading as selfies. That's when the taker actually snaps what's behind him or her instead.

And still more additions to the dictionary: crowdfunding, big data, baby bump, digital divide, dubstep, fangirl and gamification. Gamification is the process of adding gamelike elements to something to encourage participation.

Critical thinking challenge: What would happen to Merriam-Webster, the company that publishes the dictionary, if it didnt add new words? Wouldnt Merriam-Webster save money if it merely published the same list of words every year?

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COMMENTS (65)
  • CarlosRios
    5/19/2014 - 11:46 a.m.

    A mi se me hace interesante que selfie es una palabra en tan poco tiempo y me pregunto cuanto tiempo va que pasar para que personas dejan de usar la palabra selfie como otras palabras en el mundo?

  • Mk11pink
    5/19/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    Im surprised that its just know becoming a word because people have been using it like forever.But I'm happy that Seflie is a word though because everyone of the words out there are soo serious. But selfie is a Fun word

  • kw18green
    5/19/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    I mean i don't see point of making such a 'word' official, but then again it doesn't really matter. I think the Webster company are waste money on print the extra word the really as no value in my opinion but then again they are most likely trying to appeal to the newer generation.

  • 3ShaylaW
    5/19/2014 - 01:05 p.m.

    I think that "selfie" definitely should have been added to the dictionary. Almost everyone uses the term, and I believe it was the most commonly said word last year. If Merriam-Webster didn't publish new words, they would be in trouble, because if they didn't add current words, then the dictionary would only have old language in it in the future. It is important to include new words, so when people wonder what they are, they can still check the dictionary. Some of the words they added this year are very weird, and I have never heard them before.

  • KailynPa
    5/19/2014 - 01:32 p.m.

    I personally think words that are commonly used should just automatically become a word because everyone uses them anyways, and I don't think people should make such a big deal about it.

  • BrandonI
    5/19/2014 - 01:35 p.m.

    Oh great now it has become a word. Really Webster you make this a word, but not aint. Just wow. Now I have to listen to more girls use this word and I can't say it's not a word because now it

  • 8taylor.w
    5/19/2014 - 05:07 p.m.

    So as a teenager i use the word 'Selfie' quite often and in a teens perspective i think that since it became an official word i am quite happy. I feel that the word has no use in the american language because we say it anyway and wouldn't care if it was unofficial. Because a word is a word doesn't really change the fact that we have no use for it. Kinda like someone created a word for the fun of it. so i'm happy but feel that this is a very useless thing to make it a word.

  • MackenzieSh
    5/19/2014 - 07:25 p.m.

    I think some of these words aren't meant to be put in the dictionary. I mean yeah they are used a lot, but that doesn't mean they need a definite name for them. I think it's ridiculous.

  • brentho66
    5/19/2014 - 07:28 p.m.

    Merriam-Webster created selfie as a word in the dictionary, next time I buy a dictionary I am going to find the word selfie. It is funny because selfie is not a correct word on this computer but I wonder if their will never be red lines under selfie. The reason selfie became a dictionary word is because people take pictures of them selves because they are obsessed with themselves and it has turned into a word. I cannot wait until more words that are of such blasphemy become words like twerk and such.

  • joshuar-Koc
    5/19/2014 - 11:52 p.m.

    New words are coming up everyday. Some are smart and some aren't just matters what word you are looking for. Like the word turn up means to party.

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