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New Dictionary Words for 2011

SPRINGFIELD, MASS., August 25, 2011 – In yet another sign of our era's communications revolution, social media has found a home in this year's update of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, giving word watchers everywhere something to tweet about. Social media and tweet are just two of over 150 new words and definitions that have been added to America's best-selling dictionary in 2011, available now in print and online at Merriam-Webster.com.

"From the dramatic events of the Arab Spring to the scandal that brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner, tweet is a word that has been part of the story," says Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's Editor at Large. "We've been tracking words like social media and tweet for years, of course, and now we feel their meanings have stabilized enough to include them in the dictionary."

Tweet and social media join other technology-related terms including crowdsourcing (the practice of obtaining information from a large group of people who contribute online) and m-commerce ("a business transaction conducted using a mobile electronic device").

Pop culture brings us bromance ("a close nonsexual friendship between men") and cougar ("a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man"), a word whose usage was bolstered by Courteney Cox's hit TV series Cougar Town.

From sports come duathlon ("a three-part long-distance race with a running phase, a bicycling phase, and a final running phase"), walk-off ("ending a baseball game immediately by causing the winning run to score for the home team in the bottom of the last inning"), and the new sport parkour, which involves rapid and efficient running, climbing, or leaping over environmental obstacles. "Many people saw parkour in the James Bond film Casino Royale, but they may not have known that this daring sport had a name," says Sokolowski.

The additions also include an interesting pair reflecting the changing nature of parent-child relationships: helicopter parent ("a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child") and boomerang child ("a young adult who returns to live at his or her family home especially for financial reasons").

Other words added include continuous positive airway pressure, robocall, Americana (referring to a genre of music), and fist bump, a gesture made famous by President Obama.

Check out just a few of the new words and their definitions by clicking below:

  1. Americana
  2. boomerang child
  3. bromance
  4. continuous positive airway pressure
  5. cougar
  6. crowdsourcing
  7. duathlon
  8. fist bump
  9. helicopter parent
  10. m-commerce
  11. parkour
  12. robocall
  13. social media
  14. tweet
  15. walk-off