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Merriam-Webster adds new words and definitions to the dictionary, including “alt-right,” “troll,” and “pregame ”

Graphic: Merriam-Webster

Merriam-Webster, the dictionary known of late for its killer Twitter account, has added 250 new words and definitions to its pages of record. As usual with new words and definitions, they reveal a lot about the times that we live in, as these words and new meanings have to become widespread and sustained in written English prose. “These terms have shown themselves to be fully established members of the language,” Merriam-Webster’s Words At Play column says, “some after hanging about on the fringes for decades, and others after proving themselves too useful to ignore in relatively short order.”

People reading The A.V. Club (existing as we do in the internet) are likely familiar with Merriam-Webster’s new definition of “troll,” meaning “to harass, criticize, or antagonize (someone) especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts.” The “Internet Of Things” is also specific to the internet-inundated world we live in, and refers to “the networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices (such as fixtures and kitchen appliances) using the internet,” or useless shit that’s probably just collecting data on you (our definition).


Politically—and referring back to those words “proving themselves too useful to ignore in relatively short order”—is the brand-new entry for “alt-right”:

A right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism.

But Merriam-Webster also knows how to have fun! The lexicographers threw us a bone with new words like “pregame,” “froyo,” and “word salad.”

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About the author

Caitlin PenzeyMoog

Caitlin is the managing editor of The A.V. Club.