The Dictionary Just Got a Little Bigger

driving while texting

2013 was an exciting year for the English vocabulary. Some long-simmering terms like twerk bounced into the spotlight, while new coinages (from the trendy cronut and selfie to the serious Obamacare) cemented their place in the English language. As the English language grows and evolves, so must our dictionary.

Here are just a few words recently added to Dictionary.com:
Google Glass
patent cliff

(How do you get a word into the dictionary anyway? Follow these rules.)

But lexicographers have a secret. Even though cronuts and selfies make us seem cool, the trickiest thing about adding new words to the dictionary isn’t those flashy neologisms. Rather old words used in new ways are hardest to find and define. In the Internet age in particular, English speakers have drawn from our vast language to coin new senses of existing words, like click, friend, search, share, and pinch. This update to the dictionary includes new senses of familiar terms like content, lean, cliff, robust and ridiculous. Can you find the new senses?

Additionally we’ve updated other useful supplements to help satisfy the voracious lexical needs of our users. To illustrate finer points of English usage, we’ve included new-and-improved notes to impactful and misnomer, and to help you better understand the dictionary, we’ve written new notes for signifying terms such as informal, vulgar, obsolete, nonstandard and offensive, which are used to indicate tone.

(What words were added in 2012? Here’s a reminder.)


  1. Espen -  February 24, 2014 - 2:21 pm

    Why would you post a picture of someone texting while driving! That is what’s wrong with kids these days!

  2. Ginger Hadd -  February 16, 2014 - 7:37 pm

    I see that I am not the only one concerned about the picture of the girl who appears to be texting while driving… an image that implies little else. What, exactly, was the person who put this page together THINKING? Is this some kind of misguided joke? Or do you truly not see how inappropriate this is? Does this reflect some college graduate, twenty-something sense of priorities? It is a juxtaposition that does not belong here.

  3. Jana -  February 13, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    You need to add french kiss to the dictionary because my sister doesn’t know what it means so please put it in the dictionary

  4. Eradk8 -  February 7, 2014 - 3:48 am

    Add “shwing” popularized in the film Wayne’s World. Can be defined as someone attractive, mate-worthy, etc.

  5. monica day -  February 7, 2014 - 3:35 am

    I would like someone to come up with a word for someone inbetween boyfriend/ husband.

  6. mirilita -  February 6, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    You *seriously* put a picture with this article of someone using their smartphone while driving?!?!?! Completely irresponsible.

  7. Artist With Brains -  January 30, 2014 - 9:24 pm

    They just said a “little” bigger. That’s an understatement.

  8. Artist With Brains -  January 30, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    Doesn’t the dictionary always get bigger by those beckys, swag, yolo, etc.?

  9. timbaland -  January 28, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    gimp (slang made popular in the context of modern gaming)

    to reduce the effectiveness or potency of an item usually in an effort to balance gameplay. ex. They gimped the rocket launcher in the latest update of Team Fortress 2


    to obtain financial backing through mass individual contributions, often times incentivized at different levels of contribution.

  10. izah -  January 28, 2014 - 4:30 pm

    i am totaly lost what is going on

  11. D -  January 28, 2014 - 9:26 am

    @Gerry Erdman:
    You’re right about the fact that gender-neutral pronouns (GNPs) should be used, but there are actually a few of this kind of pronoun that I know of, such as xe/xem/xyr and ey/em/eir. I don’t know if they are included in Dictionary.com’s data banks, but some of these GNPs should be.

  12. Samuel Colt -  January 28, 2014 - 7:30 am

    I completely agree with ßπ. George (fourth commenter).. Before you, and I were even born what kind of language was used? If you have such a personal problem with how the English language is evolving to the point of bashing others for creatively bringing new words to the world.. then maybe you should just stop speaking English as well as bitching about the language. I am sorry, but where is your captivation for change and evolution? Based on the way you type.. the way you talk, and most importantly the way you rudely attempt to insinuate that you are more further minded then ‘most’.. I am here to say that you are not and it would be best if you took your distributing self to a ChineeseDictionary.com. Thank you,

  13. An Awesome Minecrafter -  January 28, 2014 - 1:56 am

    What kind of picture is that? A person using their phone while driving? That is so irresponsible! Is Dictionary.com actually approving of this dangerous foolishness? And what does it have to do with new words in the dictionary, anyway?

    I agree with George that “mansplain” is narrow-minded (and I am female, by the way), and has no place in the dictionary. I also agree that some of these new words may sound negative. But George should remember that many words we use today evolved from what was once considered slang.

  14. anonymous -  January 27, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    ah Americans.
    Does it hurt to say that I’m Canadian?
    okay, to the point
    Another reply to George:
    Well, if you read the actually definition, you will learn that these are all REAL WORDS slang or not.

  15. Gerry Erdman -  January 27, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    I’d like to make a case for a new word that has yet to be introduced. In today’s world we need a gender-neutral noun in the 3rd person singular. it is so tiresome to repeat “him or her”. We need another word to include both genders. Similarly, we sometimes hear the word “their” misused as in “Each student should take their work home.” Let’s have a new word inclusive of both genders.

  16. ßπ -  January 27, 2014 - 11:15 am

    George, I agree and disagree. I agree with part of it. most of these words are slang, and most will be forgotten in a few tears. however, I think that a couple, such as “selfie” might stick. after all, we have no word that adequately describes a selfie except for “a picture of myself” which can make a sentence awkward both when speaking and writing. And lets not forget… The word “Yes”, perhaps one of the most common and accepted word in the English language, evolved from slang. In fact, only a few generations ago people spoke entirely different than how we speak today, slang or not. Those people would probably be abhorred to hear what we consider to be FORMAL speaking. so yes, most of these will fade, but we shouldn’t forget that slang is often just how new words develop, and we shouldn’t always reject changes. Should we be careful with what we accept as words? yes, definitely, but if a word fills a spot noit filled or adds a new level unto an emotional word, I don’t see whats wrong with it!

  17. DN Provencher -  January 27, 2014 - 8:57 am

    I am astounded by the picture of a kid texting or viewing a cell phone while driving. What does this say about the way we as a culture are going. Wrong message.
    And that is the way I see it.

    Thankyou and God bless,

    D. N. Provencher

  18. Quinn -  January 27, 2014 - 8:50 am

    Does “Derp” (“Derpy” when used as an adjective.) qualify? It’s a very wide-spread term, though not really sure of its origin. I can approximate its meaning to be similar to fool and its meanings, though on a more toned-down scale. To derp around, for example, would to be idly entertaining oneself. To be derpy would be foolish or possibly stupid, but silly. It’s usually a harmless term to use, but only really good to be in informal settings. You guys could probably put down a formalized definition, but it’s popular enough that it may be applicable.

  19. George -  January 26, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    So many negative references,..can’t we all just get along?

    “Binge-watch” sounds like someone consuming mass-quantities of alcohol (or any other bad-for-you substance[s]), observing just about anything, while slurping-down some cheap beer/wine/etc.
    Or, someone who drinks heavily in public while waiting for someone to ask them the time.

    “Hate-watch” sounds more like looking out for people who are hateful. or speak and/or do hateful things.
    Or someone who doesn’t like the time piece they are wearing.

    “Mansplain”,..this one is just wrong on so many levels. As if men are the only ones who talk down to people? Puuuuuuulease.
    If the truth be known, “peoplesplain” is more accurate, as so many condescenders can hardly explain something to anyone, without talking down to them.
    How many women talk down to people of either gender while they explain
    something to someone? But there’s no word for that? How about “womansplain”? (My wife came up with that one, i just typed it out).

    Putting “cliff” behind so many words must be stopped as well.
    Remember, the whole “cliff” thing was coined by a real estate writer, and repeated by politicians/money-grubbers,..need i say more?

    To me, these are all slang words, and there used to be two distinct dictionaries, one for actual words and the other for slang words and/or phrases that were fads, gimmicky or considered inappropriate.
    Most of these “words” won’t be remembered in 2 years, much less 25 or 100 years.

    Let’s go back to the practice of including actual words in the dictionary, and leave the slang on the streets, and in the mouths of wannabes, while protecting the sanctity (and sanity), of actual language.

    I actually enjoyed “power-stream” in place of “binge-watch” as it denotes a person on a TV-watching/movie-watching mission, whether perceived positively or negatively. Covers both bases.

    And if “hate-watch” can be considered a word, where is its counterpart, “love-watch”?
    Must we only delineate or specify the negative, while ignoring the converse positive?
    Isn’t there enough of that in the world already?
    Do we really need more?

    Now i must go shower, and then eat, as i have fallen off the “hunger-cliff,” and my B.O.-binge/odor-watch is at (actually, more like beyond), its peak limit.

  20. DJPrevatt -  January 26, 2014 - 11:28 am

    Irresponsible picture at the top of this article – that’s dangerous behavior you’re promoting.

  21. Paul Alperin -  January 26, 2014 - 8:16 am

    I can’t believe that your photo for “The Dictionary Just Got a Little Bigger” shows someone using their phone while driving. How completely irresponsible. Don’t you think that this photo further normalizes this dangerous behavior for those who already do it? And thereby implicitly encourages it? You are contributing to a culture that multitasks at their and everyone else’s peril.

  22. wolf tamer and coal miner -  January 26, 2014 - 2:39 am

    1st comment! At least I don’t see any others.

    And here come the Language Nazis… ;)

    Wow, the dictionary is growing all the time. These new words definitely reflect the way the American society is changing. I like that Dictionary.com is evolving to meet our new language needs.

    BTW, as of my Minecraft exploits yesterday, my status has been upgraded from tree puncher to coal miner.


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