In what might be considered an inflection point ("a moment when significant change occurs or may occur") in the language, more than 530 words and meanings, including fabulosity, have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. These new terms and uses offer a window into how the English language is changing and expanding, with linguistic innovations coming from a variety of fields and endeavors, from business to sports, from law to today's headlines.
Some front-page terms include red flag law, "a law allowing courts to prevent people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or to others from having access to firearms," and deep state, which refers to a secret network of unelected government officials operating extralegally to influence and enact government policy. The environmentally conscious may be familiar with the new word fatberg, "a large mass of fat and solid waste that collects in a sewer system."
From the world of sports, we have the term free solo, which became fully established after featuring as the title of a recent documentary about this particularly daring variety of rock climbing. Those who prefer less-risky adventures might be more familiar with escape room, "a game in which participants confined to a room or other enclosed setting (such as a prison cell) are given a set amount of time to find a way to escape (as by discovering hidden clues and solving a series of riddles or puzzles)."
"We need to see lots of evidence of use for a new word to be added to the dictionary," explains Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "Some of these words have been around for a...