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Why You Likely Already Know A Lot Of The Dictionary's New Words

Merriam-Webster added 250 words and definitions to its online dictionary.
Posted at 10:18 AM, Sep 19, 2017

When Merriam-Webster says it added 250 new words and definitions online, you might be expecting some bizarre, obscure vocab — terms like "compunctious" and "alexithymia." 

So why, on Monday, was Merriam-Webster so excited that it added "sriracha"?

You likely already know it's "a pungent saucethat is made from hot peppers." But for Merriam-Webster, already knowing is kind of the point.

The publishing company says these 250 new words are ones "our readers expect to find in the dictionary."

For instance in tech, it added the "internet of things" and a new definition for "troll." 

Political additions include "alt-right" and "open carry." 

The new dictionary even recognizes that a "pregame" is when you "begin drinking alcohol before an event or activity." 

The main reason a new word gets added is simply that it's used a lot. 

Merriam-Webster editors spend an hour or two each day reading books, magazines, internet articles and more — all in the hunt for new words or new usages. 

It may take awhile, but Merriam-Webster says its staff looks for "which words people use most often and how they use them." 

Recognizing new words means those groups, concerns, crazes and activities are already a part of people's lives. 

And yes, that may include sriracha.