The Reason Made-Up Fad Words Will Survive This Decade

Before you facepalm, think about how many times you’ve binge-watched while sexting someone emojis from your mancave?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has been in the business of words since 1828, but since the noughties, the American-based company has been at the forefront of adding new words to its online version.

Words like vlog, bromance and sexting -- which are now commonly used and understood-- have been embraced by the publishing juggernaut.


Some pretty surprising words made the dictionary this decade. Image: Merriam-Webster

The release of new entries each year is a chance to take stock of how the English language is growing and changing.

"Words can come and go in a language, but those that show staying power and increase in use need to be recorded and described. In other words: they need definitions," a Merriam-Webster spokesperson said.



How To Spell 'Spell' And Other Basic Word Aussies Googled Most This Year

Google data exclusively obtained by 10 daily has revealed the words Aussies can’t spell and surprisingly, we have a hard time with some pretty simple words.

Word nerds scan online versions of newspapers, magazines, academic journals, books and even movie and television scripts until they detect "a critical mass" of usage that warrants inclusion in the dictionary.

So while not all words are completely new, some are words that have new meaning or words that have been blended to form new definitions. This ranges from the technical to the informal.

Here are some of our favourite words that have earned an official place in the English lexicon.


Haram: Items, usually foods, forbidden under Islamic law.

Vlog: a blog that contains video material.

The first known use of the word Vlog was in 2002, it made it into the dictionary in 2009. Image: Getty

Gamification: the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.

Arab Spring: a series of anti-government uprisings affecting Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East beginning in 2010


Crowdsourcing: the practice of obtaining information from a large group of people who contribute online.

Bromance: close, a nonsexual friendship between men.

Helicopter Parent: a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.

The Fiji Water wonder woman is a great example of a 'photobomb'. Image: Getty

Gassed:  drained of energy: spent, exhausted.

Mancave: a room or space (as in a basement) designed according to the taste of the man of the house to be used as his personal area for hobbies and leisure activities

Sexting: the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone.


Fangirl: a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.

Crowdfunding: the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people, especially from the online community.

Catfish:  a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.

Tweep: A person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets.

Emojis are now so commonly used and made the online dictionary edition in 2015. Image: Getty

Sharing economy: economic activity that involves individuals buying or selling usually temporary access to goods or services especially as arranged through an online company or organisation.

Emoji: any of various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication (as in text messages, e-mail, and social media) to express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.


Binge Watch: To watch many or all episodes of (a TV series) in rapid succession.

Face Palm: To cover one's face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment.

Facepalm was added in 2016. Image: Getty Images

Ghost: To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

Photobomb: To move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.

Listicle: An article consisting of a series of items presented as a list.


Aucklander: A native or inhabitant of city or region of Auckland, New Zealand.

Bamstick: A foolish, annoying, or obnoxious person; (also spec.) a belligerent or disruptive person. Often as a contemptuous form of address.


They: expanded to include this sense: “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.”

It's an expansion of use that is sometimes called the “singular they” (and one that has a long history in English). When a reflexive pronoun corresponding to singular use of they is needed, themself is seeing increasing use.

Vacay: a shortening of vacation.

While some of the additions only get added to the online edition, some make it into its annual printed hardback dictionary -- the company's popular Collegiate Dictionary.

Contact the author