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 (148)
  • Joslin_101
    5/19/2014 - 11:35 a.m.

    I think that it is a waste of time and money to add these social media words to the dictionary. I feel that everybody uses these words even if they weren't in the dictionary, so why add it? Minus well just print the same words that they have had for the past years. I think that Merriam-Webster would have saved a lot of money if they hadn't have added new words to the dictionary and published the same list of words every year.

  • luiss123
    5/19/2014 - 11:47 a.m.

    selfie is now a word awsome ilove how we can just say a random word and in a few mouths pass bye and now its a word so amazing how we can shape our life and culture

  • kaiyaw
    5/19/2014 - 12:17 p.m.

    selfie has always been a word lol but i love taking selfies knowing im ugly but whatever lol

  • kayla l
    5/19/2014 - 12:20 p.m.

    Their really adding "selfie to the dictionary. A lot of people these days sound very unedicated..but I cant say anything because i say that too lol

  • CP14-KDkilla13
    5/19/2014 - 12:59 p.m.

    if they didnt make new words for the dictionary, then they will just keep publishing the same thing so it will be better to keep adding new words to the dictionary.

  • Reef
    5/19/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    "but first let me take a selfie" I think this is funny that they added selfie into the dictionary and turducken I definitely wanna try I bet it taste good.

  • alexiselam
    5/19/2014 - 02:10 p.m.

    In my book ''Selfie'' was already a word. Now it is most likeley it is going to be put in the real book. Everyone should take selfies. That's what I think at least.

  • josebecerril
    5/19/2014 - 02:13 p.m.

    ha ha # I think that selfie should be in the dictionary but is it even a word I mean who maid it but I still think it should be in the dictionary.

  • jenniferquezada
    5/19/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    This is funny because every body is saying selfie and was the word of the year and now it is in the dictionary and is a real word now.

  • hallie7
    5/19/2014 - 02:16 p.m.

    If they didn't add new words some people wouldn't know what some words mean, because not every one has Internet to search everything. It would be easier for some people to just look it up in the dictionary.

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