A few years ago, words like emoji, twerk, meme, WTF, and photobomb meant nothing to people not plugged into pop culture and the inner workings of social media, but now they’re an official part of the English language.
Merriam-Webster just updated its unabridged online dictionary with 1,700 new terms, including a host of words and abbreviations that you might have to explain to your grandparents. In addition to medical terms (neurofeedback) and foodie terms (créme), abbreviations like “WTF” and “NSFW” made the update, as did jeggings, click-bait, vocal fry, and more Gen Y-approved jargon.
You can see a larger list on Merriam-Webster’s website, but in the meantime check out the definitions published for some of our favorite new additions to the official dictionary.
twerk (v.) Definition: sexually suggestive dancing characterized by rapid, repeated hip thrusts and shaking of the buttocks, especially while squatting.
WTF (abbrev.) Definition: what the f—, used especially to express or describe outraged surprise, recklessness, confusion or bemusement.
NSFW (abbrev.) Definition: not safe for work; not suitable for work, used to warn someone that a website, email attachment, etc., is not suitable for viewing at most places of employment.
jeggings (n.) Definition: a legging that is designed to resemble a tight-fitting pair of denim jeans and is made of a stretchable fabric.
photobomb (v.) Definition: to move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.
vocal fry (n.) Definition: a vocal effect produced by very slow vibration of the vocal cords and characterized by a creaking sound and low pitch.