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
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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)
  • garebear311
    5/19/2014 - 02:17 p.m.

    I think that selfie should be a word. Well of course it is now. But I think that because it is used a lot! It also does have a meaning behind it too. So I think that Merriam-Webster made a good choice. But I think it's crazy on how they added 150 words in just one year!

  • demetrisbaezbrown
    5/19/2014 - 02:18 p.m.

    its kind of weird that selfie is now a word just because its used across the world in many different places.its also kind if weird that its even a word anyway.

  • jessicap321750
    5/19/2014 - 02:19 p.m.

    woooow !!! i cant believe that , i cant believe how many words theres in the dictionary I wonder how many words have been added.

  • Ethanc10
    5/19/2014 - 02:20 p.m.

    it funny how they made a new word for takeing a picyure now its called selfie when it used to be called picture

  • Dancer3443
    5/19/2014 - 02:23 p.m.

    Is it good business to never change anything? is pretty much what their asking. change is a good thing but it also can be a bad thing. If nothing changed and we didn't get any new words then how would we be able to call the past the past? If words in the dictionary never changed then, to be honest how would there be a future if we a;ready know its just going to be the same? Things like the Merriam-Webster Dictionary need to have some change other wise there would be some pretty mad people!

  • ethanweaver
    5/19/2014 - 02:26 p.m.

    I think that's kind of a weird thing to have in the dictionary, and who ever made up the word turducken. Those are some pretty weird words to have in the dictionary I understand that selfie is a word used all the time but that doesn't mean it has to be a word.

  • chooperstyler13
    5/19/2014 - 02:30 p.m.

    Adding the "word" selfie to a dictionary is like adding oil to water it's just not right. I believe it shouldn't be a word because its dumb. And making a song called selfie is as dumb as a brick.

  • curtiscoleman
    5/19/2014 - 02:48 p.m.

    So what i am gathering from this information is that the Dictionary is the new Urban Dictionary. Then in a year or two there will be no Urban Dictionary. I also think that the Dictionary should put funny descriptions of our names.

  • racerfelter
    5/19/2014 - 02:52 p.m.

    The dictionary needed to be updated. It's good for the new generation that coming up. Now the dictionary has funnier words. It's good that there keeping up the social media and new pharaes.

  • tyresewhite
    5/19/2014 - 02:57 p.m.

    Its official: Selfie is now a real word that is crazy like what they gotta put that in there for like we already say it but yeah now your parents can't say its not a real word anymore lol.

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