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New Words of 2012 [infographic]

  • January 7, 2013
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Any well-used language evolves; words and idioms fade in and out of the English tongue as the personality of American culture changes. Dictionary companies examine what people are saying and which words they use to say it, and several words each year are selected for inclusion into the new dictionaries. In this way, words become full-fledged members of the English language. This infographic lists ten new words 2012 Britannica dictionaries will now include.

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1. Aha Moment

A sudden moment of insight, comprehension, or inspiration.

“My aha moment was when I tried yellow instead of blue for the background.”
“Frank’s aha moment came when he realized Sheila liked him.”

2. Bucket List

A list of things a person wishes to do before he or she dies.

“Both Bob and Phil had skydiving on their bucket list, so they hooked up this summer to go skydiving together.”
“I just ate an entire container of Fudge Marshmallow Explosion ice cream. I can cross that off my bucket list.”

3. Earworm

A song that keeps circling through a person’s head.

“I woke up this morning with an earworm and have been humming ‘White Christmas’ all day.”
“Jack hated the new commercial, but the tune turned into an earworm that he couldn’t shake for days.”

4. Energy Drink

A beverage, usually carbonated, that raises the drinker’s energy. Typical ingredients can include caffeine, ginseng, niacin, or taurine.

“After three energy drinks and half a pot of coffee, Annabelle realized she could now run in four directions at once.”
“Take care with energy drinks, as they contain compounds that dissolve the calcium in your teeth.”

5. F-bomb

The use of a certain word beginning with the letter “F” and not generally accepted in polite company.

“Everything went well until the man became agitated and started dropping f-bombs.”
“Bernie accidentally hit us with an f-bomb but quickly apologized.”

6. Game Changer

A new element within a situation that drastically affects the circumstances or outcome.

“The touchdown proved to be a game changer, and the Packers won 27-22.”
“Francine’s degree was a game changer; she now has a nice house on the north side of town.”

7. Gassed

This word can mean either tired or drunk.

“After back-to-back 8-hour shifts at work, Mike was completely gassed and slept for twelve hours.”
“I only had two drinks, but it was on an empty stomach. I was gassed and needed a ride home.”

8. Gastropub

An establishment identified with alcohol that also sells exceptional food.

“Mickey the Hatchet opened a bar, but his amazing talent for cooking burgers turned it into a popular gastropub.”
“My favorite gastropub is known for gourmet sandwiches.”

9. Man Cave

A room designed around tastes generally associated with men, such as sports paraphernalia.

“Bob remodeled the basement into a man cave, complete with a big-screen television and football posters.”
“We are all invited to Howard’s man cave to watch the games on Sunday.”

10. Sexting

The act of sending explicit photographs or messages by cell phone.

“Liza is not the type of girl to be caught sexting at school.”
“When I said I was sexting a friend, Mom almost choked on her coffee, and we laughed for ten minutes.”

Can you think of any other words that are so embedded into American culture that they are likely to become “legitimate” English?

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