Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Monica Faram

August 28, 2011

Tweeting, cougars and boomerang children

There are some new words in town.

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added more than 100 new words to its list. New words were announced Thursday that would be added to the newest edition.

Some of those words include “tweet,” “helicopter parents,” “cougar,” “fist bump” and “bromance.”

To say the dictionary is getting hipper would be an understatement.

According to The Associated Press, the wordsmiths at the Springfield, Mass.-based dictionary publisher said they picked the new entries after monitoring their use over several years and watching for references in a variety of sources, including mainstream media outlets.

“Even if people had no interest or possible chance of getting a Twitter account themselves, they now have to know what ‘tweet’ means, and that’s really why it’s in the dictionary,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large. “It’s not just because the users of that service are so numerous, although they are. It’s because even the non-users have to know what that word means because they’ll encounter it so often in everyday use.”

Hmm ... I wonder if I make up a word and get everyone to start using it I can get it in the dictionary too.

Oh and for those of you who are fortunate enough not to know what the above mentioned words mean, here are the definitions, as they will be printed in the new dictionary. I also threw in a few of my personal favorites of the new words.

• Americana (1841): genre of American music with roots in early folk and country music.

• boomerang child (1988): young adult who returns to live at her or her family home, especially for financial reasons.

• bromance (2004): a close nonsexual friendship between men.

• cougar (1774): slang term for a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man.

• crowdsourcing (2006): the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

• fist bump (1996): a gesture in which two people bump their fists together, as in greeting or celebration.

• helicopter parent (1989): a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.

• m-commerce (1997): business transactions conducted by using a mobile electronic device, such as a cellphone.

• parkour (2002): the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing or leaping rapidly and efficiently.

• robocall (1993): a telephone call from an automated source that delivers a pre-recorded message to a large number of people.

• social media (2004): forms of electronic communication, such as websites for social networking and microblogging, through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal message and other content such as videos.

• tweet (1768): a post made on the Twitter online message service.

• walk-off (1990): ending a baseball game immediately by causing the winning run to score for the home team in the bottom of the last inning, i.e., a walk-off homer. Also, won by the home team in the bottom of the last inning, i.e., a walk-off win.

OK, well I was a boomerang child after I graduated from college. I think I’ll go fist bump someone now.

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Monica Faram
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