Here’s official proof that the selfie is here to stay — as of today, if you look up “selfie” in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, you’ll find the following definition: “(n., 2002): an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.”
Merriam-Webster is adding more than 150 words to its print and online dictionaries for 2014, it announced in a press release today. Among them are some terms that will seem familiar to the more tech-savvy among us.
“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster, said in the press release. “‘Tweep,’ ‘selfie,’ and ‘hashtag’ refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like ‘crowdfunding,’ ‘gamification,’ and ‘big data’ show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”
Here’s a selection of the new tech-inspired additions, along with the part of speech and the first time Merriam-Webster editors noted the word being used in that particular sense.
Auto-Tune (v., 2003): to adjust or alter (a recording of a voice) with Auto-Tune software or other audio-editing software especially to correct sung notes that are out of tune
big data (n., 1980): an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools
catfish (n., new sense): a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
crowdfunding (n., 2006): the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community
digital divide (n., 1996): the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not
e-waste (n., 2004): waste consisting of discarded electronic products (as computers, televisions, and cell phones)
gamification (n., 2010): the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation
hashtag (n., 2008): a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet)
hot spot (n., new sense): a place where a wireless Internet connection is available
motion capture (n., 1992): a technology for digitally recording specific movements of a person (as an actor) and translating them into computer-animated images
paywall (n., 2004): a system that prevents Internet users from accessing certain Web content without a paid subscription
social networking (n., 1998): the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online
steampunk (n., 1987): science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology
tweep (n., 2008): a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets
unfriend (v., 2003): to remove (someone) from a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking Web site
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