Dictionary adds 520 new words


Chicago Tribune



Merriam-Webster, the United States’ leading language provider announced it was adding over 520 new words and definitions to the publisher’s website. These new words include “COVID-19,” “second gentleman,” “long-hauler,” “flex,” “ASMR” and “sapiosexual.”

Before the pandemic, “long-hauler” was defined as a person or vehicle that travels long distances, but it now has an additional definition: “a person who experiences one or more long-term effects following initial improvement or recovery from a serious illness (such as COVID-19).”

“ASMR,” or autonomous sensory meridian response, means “a pleasant tingling sensation that originates on the back of the scalp and often spreads to the neck and upper spine, that occurs in some people in response to a stimulus (such as a particular kind of sound or movement), and that tends to have a calming effect.”

“Second gentleman” has come into use because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction.” As a verb, “flex” means to bend; informally, this word is defined as “to talk in a boastful or aggressive way.”

The term “COVID-19” was added in the dictionary in a record 34 days.

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Chicago Tribune

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