Hashtag, selfie, unfriend: The new words of 2014

Like it or not, it looks like the selfie is here to stay. Check out the dozen or so tech terms that Merriam-Webster has added to its updated collegiate dictionary.

By MSN Money Partner May 20, 2014 8:26AM

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBoston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (L) poses for a 'selfie' with U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House to honor the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox April 1, 2014 in Washington, D.C. © Win McNamee/Getty ImagesBy Todd Olmstead, The Wall Street Journal

You probably know what a "selfie" is, but what about "gamification"? Both words from the corners of technology and social media are among the 150 that Merriam-Webster said Monday it is adding to its collegiate dictionary.

"So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods," Peter Sokolowski, editor at large, wrote on the company's website. Many of the words -- "tweep" and "hashtag," for example -- come directly from their use on social media like Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB).

Merriam-Webster updates its dictionary often, though it skipped one in 2013. This updates the 11th edition, and is not considered a new edition of the dictionary.

Around 30 editors working full-time on the dictionary contribute to the list. "We take a census of language on a continuing basis," Sokolowki said. "Then we take stock of which of those words are not in the dictionary and of those, which are being used with increasing frequency and with a wide distribution of publications."

According to a spokesperson, only a sample of the new words are disclosed "for competitive reasons."

You can see some of the included words and their definitions below.

  • big data (noun): an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools
  • catfish (noun): a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
  • crowdfunding (noun): the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community
  • digital divide (noun): the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not
  • e-waste (noun) : waste consisting of discarded electronic products (as computers, televisions, and cell phones)
  • gamification (noun): the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation
  • hashtag (noun): a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet)
  • paywall (noun): a system that prevents Internet users from accessing certain Web content without a paid subscription
  • selfie (noun): an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks
  • social networking (noun): the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships esp. online
  • tweep (noun): a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets
  • unfriend (v.t.): to remove (someone) from a list of designated friends on a person's social networking website

Dictionary updates from the likes of Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionary often spur debates about what words deserve to be included. Merriam-Webster is suggesting people talk about its new words (where else) on Twitter using the hashtag #MW2014NewWords.

Which new word do you think most deserves an entry? Let us know in the comments or vote here.

More from The Wall Street Journal

presidential promises = calculated, purposeful, planned lies manufactured to continue the fully unjust flow of taxpayer dollars to someone from Kenya
May 25, 2014 7:43AM
Favorites for the Narcissistic, the ones that love only themselves and think that all the others love them also...... like the half breed POTUS that is damning and damaging this great country beyond recognition for the middle class.
May 25, 2014 10:30AM
obamafication...didn't make the list...
May 25, 2014 2:04PM
And what exactly does this article have to do with "Money"?
May 25, 2014 6:50AM
gnome sayun, pavement ape, never get mentioned yet are used very often these daze.
May 25, 2014 8:57PM
dems want to bring down the country republicans want to restore the country
May 25, 2014 10:36PM
And don't forget to add Obama Care which of course means you are taking it up your as like it or not.
May 25, 2014 12:32PM
The entire planet needs to be hosed down with sarin.
May 25, 2014 10:13AM
44 ways to screw a country by one SFB.  that's right a SFB
May 25, 2014 12:51PM
May 25, 2014 11:44PM
What is the new word for someone who blames everything from the beginning of time on the current President?
"Ignorant" is the old word and I think it covers it nicely.
May 25, 2014 8:09PM
Selfie isn't new,I've been doing selfies since I was 12 years old.
May 25, 2014 7:04PM
How about the two I invented Dumbocrats and Republicks?
May 25, 2014 3:12PM
I thought a "selfie" was a time one took for himself/herself.  I did not know until today a "selfie" was a picture taken.  But, I did know what "fukit" meant.  Just fukit.
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