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Hashtag, Selfie, Tweep and Yooper Make It Into Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Hashtag, selfie, tweep and Yooper join more than 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster‘s Collegiate Dictionary in 2014.

The additions reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.

As for Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? Well, let’s just say it’s about time!

Crowdfunding joins big data and gamification, illustrating how technology is being used to understand and motivate behavior. A similar, if more playful, intersection of technology and human behavior can be seen in steampunk (“science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology”).

In the area of more intimate relationships, catfish, a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes. Catfish was popularized by the documentary and television series of the same name and by last year’s strange story of the non-existent girlfriend University of Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o, who now plays for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster. “Tweep, selfie and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

New culinary terms include pho (a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles), turducken (a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey) and the French-Canadian favorite poutine (a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds).

Other notable additions include freegan (the practice of reclaiming and eating food that has been discarded) and fracking (the process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open).

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