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Unbelievable New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2021

July 29, 2021    7 min read

Language is a mode of communication that reflects our culture in the words we use. They can help us communicate what we feel clearly. Oftentimes, major events also give rise to various words.

Lexicographers (persons who compiles dictionaries) spend their time scouring for new English words trending in 2021 to update our dictionaries. There are two parameters required for new words to make it to the dictionary:

  • It has been used by a large group of people in the same way
  • It has to be used for a prolonged period of time to come

Summer solstice 2021- the longest day of the year falls on Monday, June 21, 2021, which marks the start of summer and the return of brighter evenings in the Northern Hemisphere. For many cultures across the world, the first day of summer is celebrated with festivities and rituals that signify the sun's primacy and its value to human life. Let's find out more about the June solstice and the importance it holds:

Popular, global dictionaries like Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge English Dictionary and Merriam Webster add words every year to update their editions. In January this year, 520 words were added which were trending words in 2021.

In this latest blog series on Language Fun, here are the 5 most interesting ones that you probably haven’t heard about and some that you may have heard about and even used, which weren’t even in the dictionary till now!

  1. Hygge (pronounced as hoog-uh): a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable. This Danish/Norwegian word has been borrowed by the English language like many words in the past. Drinking a hot cup of tea watching the rain can be very hygge.

    Source: freepik

  2. ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response: a pleasant tingling sensation that originates on the back of the scalp and often spreads to the neck and upper spine, that occurs in some people in response to a stimulus (such as a particular kind of sound or movement), and that tends to have a calming effect.
    This is a weird one. Millions of people have been watching YouTube videos of creators who specialize in ASMR content on ordinary tasks like spraying a water bottle, tapping, stirring a bowl of soup, using a hair dryer or crinkling wrapping paper. But these sounds are believed to be relaxing and soothing. The science behind this is not clear as it is a recent phenomenon and not everyone responds to it.
  3. Long hauler: a person who experiences one or more long-term effects following initial improvement or recovery from a serious illness (such as COVID-19).
    COVID-19 itself is a recent entrant into the dictionary and the fastest entry since its origin. But such major events also have its own lexicon such as self-isolate, physical distancing, contactless, WFH, PPE and her immunity etc.! Some other COVID 19 related words added this year include wet market that sells perishable items (such as fresh meat and produce) and pod and bubble a small group of people who regularly interact closely with one another but with few or no others in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection.

    Source: freepik

  4. Flex (informal): an act of bragging or showing off. A popular word used by youngsters to boast about some material possession or achievement. The origin of this slang word is suspected to come from flexing muscles to showcase strength. I know it is not the right thing to do but I cant help but flex about the many prizes I won!

    Source: freevector

  5. Coworking: working in a building where multiple tenants (such as entrepreneurs, start-ups, or non-profits) rent working space and have the use of communal facilities.
    Wait, this is a new word? Remember, a word or phrase needs to reach a certain level of usage or circulation before it gets added to the dictionary. Another such popularly used word which was added this year was crowdfunding - the practice of obtaining needed funding (for a new business) by soliciting contributions from a large number of people especially from an online community.

Did you enjoy reading about the list of new words added to dictionary 2021? Keep coming back to the Practically blog for more such interesting information. And in the meantime, check out the Practically app for STEM related content with life-like 3D videos, simulations and AR. Download the app now!

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