new additions
December 2, 2020

Arizona, we have a senator.

Mark Kelly landed in the Capitol on Wednesday, arriving for his swearing in ceremony with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Kelly was then sworn in to replace Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), narrowing the Senate's Republican majority to 52 seats and joining Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) to give Arizona its first two Democratic senators since the 1950s.

Kelly, a former astronaut, handily beat McSally in last month's special election to fill the late Sen. John McCain's seat. He'll have to defend the spot again in two years. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 18, 2017

Merriam-Webster announced Monday that its dictionary is now 250 words thicker. The new additions span a wide range, from the political to the culinary.

Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster said in a news release that additions are typically made because the words "are part of the current, active vocabulary of America," so it makes sense that several of Merriam-Webster's newest additions are politically charged. The dictionary officially defines "dog whistle" as "an expression or statement that has a secondary meaning intended to be understood only by a particular group of people"; "troll" as "to harass, criticize, or antagonize (someone) especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts"; and "alt-right" as "a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism."

In less divisive words, the hugely popular hot sauce "sriracha," the frozen yogurt shorthand "froyo," and the pre-event consumption of alcohol known as a "pregame" are also now enshrined in the dictionary. Becca Stanek

February 7, 2017

Merriam-Webster Dictionary just got a little bit thicker. On Tuesday, the dictionary announced it's adding more than 1,000 new words and definitions to its repertoire.

The additions run the gamut, including medical and science-related words such as "EpiPen," "Urgent Care," "CRISPR," and "microbiome"; food-related vocabulary like "macaron" and "chef's knife"; sports words like "airball," "up-fake," and "five-hole"; technological terms like "net neutrality" and "botnet"; and some political words, including "SCOTUS," "FLOTUS," and "truther." Children's book author Dr. Seuss even got a shout-out, with the addition of "Seussian" — "of, relating to, or suggestive of the works of Dr. Seuss."

Of course, it wouldn't be a dictionary expansion without the addition of some new slang words. There's "binge-watch" ("to watch many or all episodes of a TV series in rapid succession"); "ghost" ("to abruptly cut off all contact with someone by no longer accepting or responding to texts, etc."); "throw shade" ("to express contempt or disrespect for someone publicly especially by subtle or indirect insults or criticisms"); "humblebrag" ("to make a seemingly modest, self-critical, or casual statement or reference that is meant to draw attention to one's admirable or impressive qualities or achievements"); and "side-eye" ("a sidelong glance or gaze especially when expressing scorn, suspicion, disapproval, or veiled curiosity").

To check out all the new additions, head over to Merriam-Webster. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads