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'F-bomb,' 'sexting' among new Merriam-Webster dictionary words

August 14, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • "Mash-up" is among the new words added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, including "F-bomb" and "sexting."
"Mash-up" is among the new words added to Merriam-Webster's… (Merriam-Webster Inc. )

Do you need to reach for the dictionary to double-check the definition of "F-Bomb" and "sexting"? Probably not. But now you could if you wanted to.

The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has added "F-Bomb" and "sexting" to its list of new dictionary entries for 2012 along with the likes of "mash-up," "aha moment," "cloud computing" and "earworm." (An earworm is a song or tune you just can't get our of your head.)

The dictionary's editors pride themselves on monitoring the evolution of language, and the creative new terms that seemingly overnight become part of the lexicon. 

"Some of the new words this year provide colorful images," Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski said in a statement posted online. "Terms like 'man cave,' 'underwater' (when used to describe mortgages), 'earworm,' and 'bucket list' paint vivid pictures in your mind. They show that English-speakers can be very creative as they describe the world around them."

The list also includes the likes of copernicium (a new chemical element) as well as phrases and terms so common you wonder why they need to be defined. Those include "energy drink," "game changer," "gassed," and "gastropub."

"Systemic risk," is described as "the risk that the failure of one financial institution (as a bank) could cause other interconnected institutions to fail and harm the economy as a whole."

The raciest words on the list, of course, are "sexting" and "F-Bomb." "Sexting" is defined as a blend of the words sex and texting, and first came into use in 2007. As most everyone knows, it's the act of sending racy messages or photos by cellphone.

We're not going to fully define "F-Bomb," other than to say that the dictionary considers it "a lighthearted and printable euphemism" for something far more offensive. 

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Join Rene Lynch on Google+ and Twitter. Email: rene.lynch@latimes.com

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