Its official: Selfie is now a real word
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?