(NEXSTAR) – The English language is ever-changing and expanding, much like the loose “dad bods” that Merriam-Webster has recently chosen to immortalize with their very own definition.
This week, Merriam-Webster added hundreds of new words and definitions to its official dictionary, including slang sayings, political phrases and technological terminology that gained prominence — or simply persisted — over the last several years. In total, the editors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary added 455 new words and definitions to the tome, marking its largest update since January 2021.
“We are all encountering changes in work, public policy, and healthcare, as well as how we communicate online,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster editor at large, in a statement included with Wednesday’s press release. “It’s not surprising that these changes are reflected in the dictionary.”
Among the new words and definitions, the editors at Merriam-Webster included several terms coined amid the pandemic, including: “breakthrough,” to describe an infection occurring in a vaccinated person; “super-spreader,” defined as an event or location where many people contract such an infection; and “vaccine passport,” referring to a document that provides proof of vaccination.
Merriam-Webster also added “long COVID,” a term which, like the medical condition it describes, likely isn’t going anywhere for a long time.
It wasn’t all about medical maladies for Merriam-Webster — the dictionary added tons of techy terms, too. “Bit rot,” for instance, refers to the degradation of digital information over time, while “copypasta” is defined as data that has been copied and pasted across the internet. Online slang including FTW (for the win), TBH (to be honest) and “amirite” (an alternate spelling of “Am I right?”) were also added.
Arguably more surprising is a new definition for the word “because,” which reflects its colloquial usage “to convey vagueness,” such as when someone ends a statement they purport to be true by saying “because reasons.”
A couple of culinary words also made the update, including “ghost kitchen” to describe a restaurant that only exists to offer takeout, and “fluffernutter” to define a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème.
Perhaps the silliest definition, however, belongs to “dad bod,” which entered the dictionary thanks to its “staying power” in the English language.
dad bod (informal): a physique regarded as typical of an average father; especially : one that is slightly overweight and not extremely muscular.Merriam-Webster
“Dad bods” aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as the dictionary entry suggests: Merriam-Webster cited three usages of the term, including one from TheWeek.com which jokingly called it a “sought-after physique,” and another from WDAF journalist Abby Eden, who recently noted that dad bods had become a “hot new look” in the 2010s.
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