The English language is forever changing, and it's a challenge to keep up with the latest buzzwords and slang. The task is even more daunting for the gatekeepers of English, such as the harried folks who create dictionaries. Which popular expressions -- including the never-ending parade of new tech terms -- should be allowed in the hallowed Book of Words?
This year's update of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary adds more than 150 new words, including some popular among the digerati, including an expanded definition of tweet, the term social media, and the word crowdsourcing. Even m-commerce, which Merriam-Webster defines as "a business transaction conducted using a mobile electronic device," made the cut.
OK, so why these words and not others?
"From the dramatic events of the Arab Spring to the scandal that brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner, tweet is a word that has been part of the story," says Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor at large, in statement.
As for social media and crowdsourcing, Sokolowski says the word-watchers at Merriam-Webster have been tracking those trendy terms for years, and "now we feel their meanings have stabilized enough to include them in the dictionary."
Other pop culture favorites, including bromance ("a close nonsexual friendship between men") and cougar ("a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man"), made the Collegiate Dictionary cut as well.
Guess I'll have to update my spell checker in Microsoft Word. It has issues with bromance.
Here are some of the new words in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary -- obviously, not all of them inspired by technology.
- boomerang child
- continuous positive airway pressure
- fist bump
- helicopter parent
- social media