2019's Newest Word Additions and Definitions to the Dictionary

By Peter SM RSS Fri, December 27, 2019

As we wind down the year that was 2019 and look forward to a new decade beginning in 2020, librarians, wordsmiths, Scrabble players, and those who are just looking to add some new flavor to their vocabulary can rejoice that 1,170 new words and definitions were added to the dictionary in April and September of this year!

The English language is constantly evolving, even more so in today's digitally-driven, pop culture-fueled world. In order to qualify for inclusion in the dictionary however, a word needs to be used for "a reasonable amount of time" and in numerous independent examples.

Some of the following words may already be known from entries in the urban dictionary or slang dictionary. There are abbreviations of common and not-so-common words and terms, as well as new entries from the science, medical, and political worlds. Some are internet-speak while others are more specific to the tech world.

And without further ado, here are some of this year's newly added words:

Aphantasia (noun)
The inability to form mental images.

Autogenic Training (noun)
A self-relaxation technique that involves repeating calming statements to yourself.

Bechdel Test (noun)
A set of criteria used to evaluate a movie or other work of fiction on the basis of its inclusion and representation of female characters.

Bioabsorbable (adjective)
Capable of being absorbed by living tissue.

Bottle Episode (noun)
An inexpensively produced episode of a television series that is typically confined to one setting.

Colorism (noun)
Prejudice or discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin.

Coulrophobia (noun)
An abnormal fear of clowns.

Dad Joke (noun)
A wholesome joke of the type said to be told by fathers with a punchline that is often an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny.

Deep State (noun)
An alleged secret governmental network operating extralegally.

EGOT (noun)
An entry in the dictionary seems like an appropriate award for the acronym that stands for the rare achievement of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

Escape Room (noun)
A game in which participants confined to a room or other enclosed setting are given a set amount of time to find a way to escape.

Fabulosity (noun)
Fabulous quality, state, or nature.

Fatberg (noun)
A large mass of fat and solid waste that collects in a sewer system (a portmanteau of fat and iceberg).

Garbage Time (noun)
The final moments or minutes of a game in which one side has an insurmountable lead.

Gender Nonconforming (adjective)
Exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one's sex.

Geosmin (noun)
From the science of smell, this word names a chemical element in the recognizable odor of recent rainfall called petrichor.

Gig Economy (noun)
Economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs typically in the service sector.

Inspo (noun)
A shortening of inspiration.

Page View (noun)
An instance of a user viewing an individual page on a website.

Qubit (noun)
The unit of information in a computational model based on the unstable qualities of quantum mechanics, a blend of quantum and bit (as in a unit of digital information).

Red Flag Law (noun)
A law allowing courts to prevent people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others from having access to firearms.

Salutogenesis (noun)
A manner of monitoring health by promoting well-being rather than measuring disease.

Sesh (noun)
A shortening of session.

Solopreneur (noun)
A solo entrepreneur.

Stinger (noun)
The name for a short scene that appears during or after the closing credits of a movie.

Traumatology (noun)
The study, diagnosis, and treatment of severe, acute physical injuries sustained by individuals requiring immediate medical attention.

Vacay (noun)
A shortening of vacation.

Vulture Capitalism (noun)
A form of venture capitalism in which aggressive methods are used to buy a distressed business with the intention of selling it at a profit.

And the top words of the year?

Merriam-Webster has chosen "they" as it's 2019 Word of the Year.

Here are what other dictionaries chose for their Words of the Year:

The Oxford Dictionary selected "Climate Emergency".


Dictionary.com selected "Existential".

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