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11 Weird and Wonderful New Merriam-Webster Entries from Tech

Some are pretty well-known, while others are outright bizarre.

Handclaps Image by Laurène Boglio.

You don't have to be working in IT to encounter tech jargon. Technology is known for coming up with new (and sometimes funny sounding) words and popularizing them in a blink of an eye. Old terms quickly become outdated, replaced by new ones, and newer ones. Take the word hashtag as an example; it got into the Oxford dictionary in 2010 and the Scrabble dictionary in 2014.

The keyword hashtag we know in social media today was first used in a tweet in 2007. A few years later, the pound sign and keyword combination became the missing links for connecting like-minded people. Clicking on #KidLit could connect you with hundreds and thousands of people interested in chatting about children's literature on the Twitterverse.

The following new entries from Merriam-Webster are somewhat related to tech. They're not only tech terms, but words that are related to the way we use technology. The English language dictionary added 2,000 new words in 2016, 1,000 more new words in 2017, and more than 840 fresh, new entries in September this year. Here are 11 that made our tech list this year.

1. TL;DR (Abbreviation or Noun)

This is an abbreviation of "Too Long; Didn't Read" which has come to mean a summary of key points. It is used to refer to the main points that summarizes an explanation, a video, an article, a guide, anything. It's pretty common and sometimes expected to find the tl;dr summary on a blog or a website, even for shorter content. Because on the internet it could also stand for "too lazy; didn't read."

2. Ghost (Verb)

Ghosting is when you abruptly cut off all contact with someone or a group of people. When a person is ghosted, you no longer accept or respond to their phone calls and instant messages. Quite literally you just walk away from the other person's life. In the current workplace setting, this is now a common practice.

Job seekers were often ghosted by recruiting companies after being in constant contact for a position. What's changed is that companies are reporting instances where they're being ghosted by their employees. Ghosting can happen to anyone, anywhere, and in any form of communication.

3. Instagram (Verb)

Merriam-Webster defines this verb as "to post (a picture) to the Instagram photo-sharing service." I think this requires no further explanation. People are Instagramming more than just their selfies now. The platform introduced the IGTV for recording and sharing videos.

4. Airplane Mode (Noun)

Handshake by Laurène Boglio. 

I’m not sure people are only using the airplane mode on a plane, because actually when you’re flying on a commercial plane you're required to switch off your cell phones. The airplane mode is an operating mode for a device in which the device does not connect to wireless networks. When on such a mode, you can’t send or receive any type of communications, including calls or text messages, and can’t connect to the internet. But you can use your phone for other functions, such as using it as a calculator, or to view files.

5. Faceplam (Verb)

This word became a formal dictionary entry last year. It refers to the act of covering one's face with the hand, as an expression of embarrassment, dismay, or exasperation. There's a certain meme circulating on the web of fictional character Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Trek series doing a facepalm. I'm pretty sure if you do a quick internet search on facepalm you will easily find many similar facepalms of similar style.

6. Photobomb (Verb)

To photobomb is to sneakily slide into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or a prank. The word comes from the word photo and bomb. Its first known use is in 2008, submitted as part of the Urban Word of the Day entry by a user of the platform. The action becomes videobombing when applied to video frames.

7. Biohacking (Noun)

This dangerous-sounding word actually refers to biological experimentation to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms, especially individuals or groups outside of the traditional medical or scientific research environment. A few biohackers have made the headlines for attempting things like gene-editing, drug use and implants, usually to their own bodies.

8. Predictive (Adjective)

You know how your phone can suggest you words based on just a few letters you have typed? That predictive texting ability is based on or generated by using methods of prediction. The method is used in other areas, such as in predictive policing and predictive modeling.

9 & 10. Binge-Watch (Verb) and Bingeable (Adjective)

Last year the verb "binge-watch" was made a new entry, referring to the act of watching many or all episodes of a TV series in rapid succession. Everybody does this, right? This year Merriam-Webster has decided to add "bingeable" to mean having multiple episodes or parts that can be watched in rapid succession. In other words, a suitable candidate for binge-watching.

11. Force Quit (Verb)

Force quit is what happens when an unresponsive computer program is shut down by force, using a series of preset keystrokes. A common solution for when the computer crashes for several times, usually during system upgrade or other administrative tasks. This is not only reserved for Windows desktop, as Apple users are also known to force quit their Macs.

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11 Weird and Wonderful New Merriam-Webster Entries from Tech
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