Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hangry for ‘New’ Words? Here are 10 from the Latest Dictionary Update

In March, a dictionary updated added more than 300 words, everything from ‘hangry’ to ‘smackdown’ to ‘struggle bus.’

If you’ve ever seen a series of popular commercials for Snickers candy, you probably have an idea of what hangry means. In the spots, people appear as different personas while the message of the spot says you’re not yourself when you’re hungry.

Hangry expresses this concept by combining two words: angry and hungry.

It’s just one of the new words recently added to the dictionary, according to (I figure if anyone knows, it’d be them.)

Most of the words are ones you’ve heard before, which only makes sense: a dictionary’s primary function is define words that are currently in use so people who haven’t heard them have a chance to find out exactly what they mean. That should make it clear that a word should already be familiar to at least some segment of the population by the time it actually makes it into a dictionary.

Here are 10 of the newest entries:

1. alt-right

The alt-right movement began on social media and online forums and is composed of those who support “extreme” right-wing ideas, including white nationalism and anti-Semitism.

2. Bitchface

The official definition is, “A facial expression that does not consciously express a particular emotion but that others perceive as scowling, threatening, etc.” Every time I’ve seen something I might classify as a “bitchface,” though, I would say a particular emotion was being expressed and I’m pretty sure most instances have been intentional.

3. Clicktivism

Social media provides easy and fast ways to get the message out. Clicktivism is a word that describes online activism, including clicking links, sharing messages or signing online petititions. It also has another nickname, slacktivism, a pejorative term that implies laziness on the part of social media activists with the suggestion that the extent of their effort is just clicking on a petition. That’s often not remotely true, of course, but when to the majority of people ever let facts get in the way?

4. Dabbing

It’s that peculiar pose in which someone stands with their nose in the crook of a bent elbow at chest level while extending the other arm to the side at or above shoulder level. You may recall that House Speaker Paul Ryan was caught off guard when his own son tried to pose that way during Ryan’s swearing-in ceremony in January.

5. Dad-Bod

The dad-bod is a male physique that shows a bit more curves than a typical man might like to claim. It takes that “freshman 15” many of us picked up in college to a slightly higher level, generally after a couple has “settled down” to start a family. I wouldn’t mind a “dad-bod,” myself. I figure it’d probably beat the “great-granddad-bod” I’m currently sporting.

6. Friendiversary

It’s the annual date on which two friends actually became friends. For the most part, it’s a social media thing, since social media can tell you down to the exact day when an online “friendship” began. Most of us on Facebook haven’t had online connections longer than about 10 years. My real-life best friend, on the other hand, has been in that role for 27 years now.

7. Man Bun

Here’s one I wish wasn’t a word because I wish it wasn’t actually a thing: this is the dubious men’s hairstyle in which their long hair is pulled into a bun on the top of their head. They better be happy I’m not their barber. It wouldn’t end well for them.

8. Struggle Bus

I’ll admit I never heard of this word. It means a particularly difficult or frustrating task.

9. Throw Shade

This little phrase wasn’t one I was familiar with until recently when I saw the premiere of what could be one of the worst late-night talk shows I’ve ever seen. To “throw shade” means to criticize, usually in an “artful” or satirical way.

10. Uncanny Valley

This is a condition of discomfort that results from seeing a machine perform gestures like facial expression in an attempt to appear “human.” If you’ve ever seen something like that and felt a bit ill at ease, or thought what you were seeing was “creepy,” you’ve just entered the Twilight Zone Uncanny Valley.

What do you think of the “new” words?

What’s your favorite and least favorite among these?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.