Merriam-Webster adds “pumpkin spice” and “yeet” to the dictionary

That’s pretty much “nonsense” (Note): “a fashionable look that is distinctive to the wearer and that is noticeable and memorable to others.”

Merriam-Webster said it added 370 new words and phrases to its dictionary this month, many of them terms that dominate today’s linguistic zeitgeist.

Some of the new additions were chosen from the countless slang and informal coinages found online. Among them:

  • “Yeet” (v.): To throw something with force and without regard to the thing being thrown.
  • “Janky” (adj.): of very poor quality.
  • “Pwn” (v.): dominate and conquer.

“The dictionary records how the language grows and changes, which means there is a constant need to add new words and definitions,” the editor said in an online post, explaining his process for selecting new additions. “If many people use a word in the same way for a long enough period of time, that word can be absorbed.”

A screenshot of the definition of Pumpkin Spice in Merriam-Webster.
Pumpkin Spice is defined as “a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice, the inclusions of which are just in time for the fall season.”

While some of the terms do feel like relative newcomers to the English language, some of the more recent additions have been common speech for years.

For example, the newly introduced verb “MacGyver” has long referred to fixing or making something with whatever tools are available, just like the main character of the 1985 television series. And “pumpkin spice” (n.), “a mixture of cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, and Allspice,” the addition of which is just in time for the fall season, has been ubiquitous in everything from lattes to hummus over the years, cultivating fans and critics alike.

A screenshot of Merriam-Webster's definition of the word Yeet.
Merriam-Webster defines yeet as “to throw something with force and without regard for the thing being thrown”.

Several online users cheered the newcomers.

“This Vermonter who is EXTREMELY familiar with mud season is thrilled you added ‘mud season’ to the dictionary,” said one weather blogger tweeted in a reply to the announcement.

Another user joked, in response to the addition of “laggy” (n.), meaning “to have a delayed or slow reaction,” “It’s about… waiting for… time.” Merriam-Webster adds “pumpkin spice” and “yeet” to the dictionary


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