Merriam-Webster adds 'cryptocurrency,' 'antifa' to dictionary

By Danielle Haynes

March 6 (UPI) -- "Cryptocurrency," "antifa," "mansplain" and "dumpster fire" are among the 850 new words Merriam-Webster added to its dictionary this year, the publication announced Tuesday.

As has been the case over the past couple decades, the growing influence of the Internet on society has influenced the English language, and thus, the dictionaries humans rely upon.


"The sometimes perplexing domain of digital financial exchanges opens a window into a subject that requires explanation for many of us, hence the detailed definition of 'cryptocurrency' as well as an entry for 'initial coin offering,' which refers to the first sale of 'Bitcoin'-like digital currency," Merriam-Webster said, revealing some of its new technology-based definitions. "Keeping records of financial transactions in a digital database as part of a publicly accessible network uses 'blockchain' technology. And a rare but non-imaginary 'unicorn' is a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more."

Recent political discord in the United States gave rise to "antifa," drawn from the German abbreviated term "anti-fascist." And gender politics blended two words to create "mansplain," when someone explains something to a woman in a condescending way.

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"Dumpster fire" describes a disaster, "silver alert" is a notification of a missing elderly person and "glamping" blends camping and glamorous.


And there are new words for dogs (chiweenie, schnoddle and Yorkie-poo) and foods (harissa, tzatziki, kabocha and kombucha).

Many of the words are familiar and have already been in use for years in English.

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"The words we use are constantly changing in big ways and small, and we're here to record those changes," Merriam-Webster said. "Each word has taken its own path in its own time to become part of our language -- to be used frequently enough by some in order to be placed in a reference for all.

"If you're likely to encounter a word in the wild, whether in the news, a restaurant menu, a tech update, or a Twitter meme, that word belongs in the dictionary."

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