Column: New additions to a dictionary edition


There’s a good reason I haven’t shared a roundup of new dictionary words in a while — the people over at Merriam-Webster haven’t added any new words since October 2021. Wake up over there, folks! Because I’m not a patient person, we’re jumping across the Atlantic today to look at the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary.

As a reminder, dictionaries don’t decide which words belong in the dictionary — popular usage does. Although, in the case of the OED, these terms are specifically written for a British audience, so they may not all apply to U.S. vernacular.

  • Ankle monitor: an electronic device that tracks a person’s location and/or blood alcohol content. Everyone has had an uncle who has shown up to Thanksgiving dinner with this electronic leg accessory.
  • Bobsledder: a person who rides in a bobsled. It’s about time “bobsledder” got added to the dictionary. After all, “Cool Runnings” came out in 1993.
  • Cringe factor: something about a situation or event that causes someone to cringe in embarrassment or awkwardness. Refer to your uncle showing up to Thanksgiving dinner with an ankle monitor (or two).
  • On a dime: in a very small space or distance. Our baby’s emotional state changes on a dime — usually because he’s gassy. To be fair, I think that’s true of most of us.
  • Sass box: a person who is exceptionally sassy (or “cheeky,” as the Brits would say). It’s fun to have a person in your friend group who is a total “sass box,” just as long as they aren’t sassy toward you.
  • Sharenting: when people share pictures, photos and news about their babies and kids on social media. Most of my updates are about our baby, so I am an expert in sharenting.
  • Soysage: vegetarian sausage made from soy instead of meat. I’d try soysage once before I’d start making fun of it; until then, I’ll hold my tongue.
  • Standing crust: a free-standing pie crust made without the support of a dish or mold. I always thought “standing crust” was the substance my college roommate left in the bathroom sink.
  • Stress-eat: the action of eating unhealthily in response to stress. I wish our local Dairy Queen were farther away from our house, as it offers a convenient outlet for my stress eating.
  • Vaxxer: a person who performs vaccinations, as opposed to an anti-vaxxer, who usually decides science does not apply to him.

What words do you think should be added to the dictionary next? Which words would you like to have removed from the dictionary?