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Melanie Lieberman
March 06, 2018

This week, a staggering 850 new words and definitions were added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, including a handful of travel terms that are both cringe-worthy and delightful.

Many travelers, for example, may already be familiar with the concept of glamping. The dictionary now defines this combination of glamour and camping as “outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing)…”

Merriam-Webster also added Wanderwort, from the German words wandern and wort (meaning wander-word). The definition of Wanderwort is any “word borrowed from one language to another.”

Similarly, travelers who use a name to identify people from a specific place — Parisians, for example, or Hoosiers — are using the newly added term demonym.

And if you’re riding a single-speed bicycle with balloon-style tires, you’re officially traveling on a beach cruiser.  

In a statement, Merriam-Webster’s associate editor, Emily Brewster, explained the rigorous selection process.

“In order for a word to be added to the dictionary,” Brewster said, “It must have widespread, sustained, and meaningful use. These words…have become established members of the English language, and are terms people are likely to encounter.”

The dictionary also added a number of global food terms that have become commonplace in recent years. Crumbly Mexican cotija cheese, spicy North African harissa paste, and a Middle Eastern za’atar spice blend all made the cut.

Less international — but definitely worth adding to your lexicon — is aquafaba. Merriam-Webster defines this vegan egg substitute as “the liquid that results when beans are cooked in water.” Delicious.

“The one constant of a vibrant language is change,” said Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, in a statement. 

That certainly justifies the more colorful, newsworthy entries like the “utterly calamitous” dumpster fire and “condescending” mansplaining.

At this time, spell-check has not yet caught up with the additions, meaning these words (despite being validated by the nod from Merriam-Webster) will still be underlined by a maddening red squiggle.

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