‘Selfie,’ ‘Tweep,’ and ‘Hashtag’ Added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Two girls take a selfie. (Thinkstock)

Hold your smartphone at arm’s length and point that front-facing camera at yourself in celebration: “Selfie” is now Merriam-Webster approved.

The venerable dictionary announced Monday that it had added several new words, including “selfie,” which it defines as “an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.” 

Other tech-centric words added include tweep (“a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets”); hashtag (“a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text [such as a tweet]”); and crowdfunding (“the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community”).

In a press release, MW said the new words “reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking.” The words will appear both online (fittingly!) and in the 2014 print edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

The additions weren’t all focused on technology. The delicious Vietnamese dish pho was added, as was the environmentally controversial practice of fracking — and Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (The Associated Press has much, much more on Yoopers here, if you’re interested.) 

All dictionaries, from Merriam-Webster to the Oxford English, add words as they work their ways into the lexicon. The OED added “phablet” and “derp” last year; its online wing, the Oxford Dictionary, proclaimed “selfie” the Word of the Year for 2013.

We still have six months left in 2014 for some word to make itself known as this year’s defining one. Given the popularity of Ellen’s celebrity-studded shot at the Oscars, however, “selfie” just might make a repeat

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