If you ever wanted to know what a “man bun” or “bitchface” is, Dictionary.com has got you covered. Both terms are among the 300 new words recently added to the site’s database.
For those who don’t know, a man bun is a hairstyle for men that first gained popularity in 2013, while bitchface refers to someone, particularly a woman, whose natural facial expression is one of “anger or disgust” (hence the phrase “resting bitch face”).
But the unexpected words don’t stop there. Other new additions include dad bod, sext, 420, dabbing and slay.
So how are these new additions determined? According to the site’s lexicographer, Jane Solomon, it has to do with what people are searching for.
“We have lookup data,” she told CNN. “We can see what words people have tried to look up on Dictionary.com that haven't led to a definition.”
She also added that sometimes users write to them requesting specific words be added. This year, petrichor — “a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground” — was one such example.
Slang words aren’t the only terms that have made it into the dictionary this year. Thanks to the media, people’s interests in political affairs has peaked, causing them to search for words like alt-right and Black Lives Matter, both of which have also been added to the site.
In a statement, Dictionary.com CEO Liz McMillan said: “Our users turn to us to define the words they see, hear, and read — and in today’s highly politicized world, we play a necessary role in helping users dissect the meaning of words heard in this period of political discourse.”
While it makes sense to include words that people are searching for, the site did receive some backlash for including slang. Many argued that these terms were not “proper” English.
@CNN new words often forced, political. only test of time can make em genuine.— d 🇺🇸 🗽 🔔 (@dougalpollux) April 4, 2017
In response, lexicographer Solomon simply stated that the English language is always changing.
“It's continually evolving,” she told CNN. “There's not just one correct English. Standard English — the register of English used in school and work, is not the only correct English. As a lexicographer, I do not define how the language is used, the speakers do. And if speakers are using a certain set of words, then that is correct English.”
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