It’s that time of year: time to adjust your dictionary! Merriam-Webster adds new words to their dictionaries and some social media terms made the list.
There are so many signs of the prevalence of social media in contemporary communication, but there is perhaps no greater honor than to have words included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This year, 150 new words were added to the one of America’s best selling dictionaries, available in print and online. The words include “tweet” “social media” and crowdsourcing”.
According to Merriam-Webster, it was only a matter of time for “tweet” and “social” media to officially make it onto their pages. Peter Sokolowsky, Merriam-Webster’s Editor at Large says, “From the dramatic events of the Arab Spring to the scandal that brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner, tweet is a word that has been part of the story. We’ve been tracking words like social media and tweet for years, of course, and now we feel their meanings have stabilized enough to include them in the dictionary.”
“Crowdsourcing”, defined as the “practice of obtaining information from a large group of people who contribute online” and “m-commerce”, defined as “a business transaction conducted using a mobile electronic device” also made the list.
So, what is the official definition of a tweet? According to Merriam-Webster, it can be used as either of a verb or a noun and means “to post a message to the Twitter online message service.” Sounds pretty accurate.
The definition of social media is a little more robust: : “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos.” Though the dictionary does not attribute the term directly, it does note that the first known use of the term “social media” came in 2004, proving just how quickly social media has impacted our culture.
Other words added to the dictionary this year include “bromance” “cougar” “parkour” and “fist bump” which was apparently popularized by President Obama.