Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Merriam-Webster took some notice of recent hot topics in the news -- "red flag laws," "fatbergs" and the "deep state" -- when it announced Tuesday that it added 530 new words and meanings to its dictionary.
Ripped from the headlines, "red flag laws" refer to policies that allow authorities to prevent people shown to be a harm to themselves or others to possess firearms. The "deep state" is the idea that an underground network is attempting to illegally influence government policy.
And in non-political news making, "fatbergs" are masses of fat and solid waste that collect in sewer systems, often blamed on people flushing items that don't break down well like wet wipes.
"These new terms and uses offer a window into how the English language is changing and expanding, with linguistic innovations coming from a variety of fields and endeavors, from business to sports, from law to today's headlines," a Merriam-Webster statement read.
In science and medicine, the dictionary added "aphantasia" -- the inability to form mental images of real or imaginary people, places or things -- as well as the gender-neutral pronouns of "they" and "them." "Autogenic training" refers to a self-relaxation technique.
From the world of sports and games, Merriam-Webster added "free solo," a type of rock climbing and "escape room," a game in which participants are required to discover clues and solve puzzles to escape from an enclosed setting.
In business, "solopreneur" is a solo entrepreneur, "pain point" is a persistent problem with a product and a new meaning for "haircut" is the reduction in the value of an asset.
Other new words include "tallboy," a can of beer, "inking," a tattoo, "dad joke," a wholesome joke that has an obvious punchline, and "inspo," or inspiration.
"We need to see lots of evidence for use for a new word to be added to the dictionary," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "Some of these words have been around for a while -- 'fabulosity' dates to the early 1600s -- but this batch also have terms that have come into the language very recently: 'escape room' is from 2012 and 'red flag law' is from 2015.
"Communication is faster today. Some terms are adopted into the language very quickly, and those terms need to be defined."