60 Modern Words and Their Meanings Now in a Dictionary (2023)

Every year, the dictionary adds new words in English. These words can come from politics, psychology, pop culture, or current slang. Check out 60 modern words that were new to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2019 and 2020. We’ve also included example sentences to illustrate how they are used.

60 Modern Words and Their Meanings Now in a Dictionary (1) girl reading dictionary


21st Century Colloquialisms

Teenagers are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to modern colloquialisms. The literary world can now catch up with the modern words for cool with these helpful dictionary additions. Here are some words that are essential to know in the 21st century.

  1. Angst (verb): To agonize; to fret. Usually with about, over. (“I’m angsting about that phone call.”)
  2. Awesomesauce (adjective): Very good or wonderful. (“This concert is awesomesauce!”)
  3. Bae (noun): Term of endearment for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Backronym for Before All Else. (“I love you so much, bae.”)
  4. Chillax (verb): To calm down and take it easy. Combination of chill and relax. (“Stop worrying about work and chillax for a minute.”)
  5. Easy-breezy (adjective): Relaxed, casual, informal. (“Baking a three-ingredient cake is easy-breezy.”)
  6. Inspo (noun): An item or idea that inspires someone. Short for inspiration. (“I made a fitness inspo board to motivate me to exercise.”)
  7. On-brand (adjective): Typical behavior for a brand, company, or individual personality. (“That Hawaiian shirt is so on-brand for you.”)
  8. Spit take (noun): A comical reaction to a comment that involves the listener spitting out their drink. (“That joke almost made me spit take!”)
  9. Stan (noun, verb): An enthusiastic, sometimes obsessive, fan of a trend, celebrity, or couple. Used as a combination of stalker and fan; from Eminem’s 2000 song “Stan.” (I used to stan Bella and Edward from Twilight, but now I’m stanning Bella and Jacob.”)
  10. Swellegant (adjective): Stylish and fashionable. A combination of swell and elegant. (“Wearing a tux makes you look swellegant.”)
  11. Vacay (noun): A fun, relaxing trip. Short for vacation. (“Let’s unwind and take a vacay to Palm Springs!”)
  12. Whatevs (pronoun): An expression of indifference or scorn. Slang for whatever. (“I don’t care what movie we watch. Whatevs.”)
  13. Yeesh (interjection): Expressing annoyance or disgust. (“Yeesh, you’re not wearing that tonight, are you?”)

New Political Words

The world needed some new words to describe political life in 2019. Some words, like caucus, were a long time coming, but other words are more modern terms for political situations.

  1. Apology tour (noun): A series of public appearances in which a public figure apologizes for misdeeds in order to restore their public image. (“The actor recently departed on an apology tour to fan conventions and public forums.”)
  2. Anti-suffragism (noun): The political movement dedicated to preventing the extension of women’s right to vote. (“A new element of misogyny involves a strong belief in anti-suffragism.”)
  3. Caucus (noun, verb): A closed meeting between people in the same political party to decide who to nominate for president. (“The Iowa caucus is the first event of the presidential primary election cycle.”)
  4. Chop-chop (noun, second meaning): Nigerian expression that describes political bribery and corruption, particularly when involving misappropriation of funds. (“The senator was found guilty for the massive chop-chop that involved his campaign finance violations.”)
  5. Deep state (noun): The theory that a secret, interconnected government organization runs the entire political agenda. (“I think the deep state is to blame for the delay in my tax return.”)
  6. Omnishambles (noun): A political situation that has been mismanaged or miscalculated, resulting in chaos. (“The new initiative proposal has turned out to be an omnishambles thanks to the press secretary’s mistakes.”)
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Psychology Words

The second decade of the 21st century taught us more about ourselves and other people. The field of psychology has faced new challenges and insights, many of which are reflected in the new dictionary words of 2019 and 2020.

  1. Confirmation bias (noun): One’s tendency to interpret new information to confirm their pre-existing biases and beliefs. (“Don’t let confirmation bias prevent you from reading news articles objectively.”)
  2. Hoarding disorder (noun): Psychological disorder in which patients experience a compulsion to collect and keep items, and extreme distress when parting with their items. (“A person with hoarding disorder may not be able to move through their home due to the accumulation of personal possessions.”)
  3. Neurodivergent (adjective): Describes a difference in mental or neurological functioning from typical or expected activity; usually used to designate a person with autism spectrum disorder. (“A neurodivergent child may prefer watching movies with the lights on and the sound on a lower setting.”)
  4. Safe space (noun): A physical or emotional place where people can exist without fear of discrimination or judgment. (“This therapy session is a safe space for you to talk about your feelings.”)
  5. Savant syndrome (noun): A syndrome in which an individual with an intellectual disability or developmental delay exhibits advanced or unusual skill and/or memory. (“Savant syndrome enables Brian to make large calculations very quickly.”)


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Modern Identity Words

Being able to identify a person based on that person’s preference seems natural. 2019 saw the first few examples of identity-based words appear in official dictionaries. From preferred pronouns to intersectionality, there are plenty of ways to address a person based on their preference.

  1. Gender nonconforming (adjective): Exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one's assigned sex. (“I consider myself gender nonconforming because I don’t like wearing dresses or keeping my hair long.”)
  2. Inclusive (adjective): An effort to include all participants, regardless of ability, gender identification, race, age, or other attributes. (“We want our workplace to be an inclusive, nondiscriminatory place.”)
  3. Latin@/Latinx (noun, adjective): A person with descent from a Latin American country. Term is gender neutral, as opposed to the male “Latino” and female “Latina.” (“The candidate depends on votes from the Latinx population to stay in the lead.”)
  4. Misgendered (adjective): A person who was assigned the incorrect gender at birth. (“Using the incorrect pronoun to address a misgendered person can be hurtful and offensive.”)
  5. They (singular pronoun): Gender-neutral third-person singular objective pronoun. Corresponds to the subjective pronoun “them.” (“Every person should choose the book they prefer.”)
  6. Zir/hir (pronoun): Gender-neutral third-person singular objective pronoun. Corresponds to the subjective pronoun “ze.” (“Have you asked Skylar about zir new house?”)


Current Pop Culture Words

Popular culture always influences a population’s vocabulary. Here are some ways that film and television have added words to the dictionary this year.

  1. Bechdel test (noun): Evaluates a movie or show’s representation of women based on conversational criteria from the work. (“I love that movie, but it doesn’t pass the Bechdel test because the women only talk to each other about men.”)
  2. EGOT (noun): Status term for a person who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. (“John Legend is the most recent EGOT winner after he won an Emmy for ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar.’”)
  3. Jedi (adjective, noun): A skilled, religious warrior from the fictional universe of Star Wars. (“I can tell what you’re thinking, like I have Jedi mind powers.”)
  4. Lightsaber (noun): A sword-like weapon with a strong beam of light from the fictional universe of Star Wars. (“Luke and Darth Vader engaged in a lightsaber duel until Luke was cornered.”)
  5. MacGyver (verb): Using everyday items to create a tool that gets you out of a tricky situation. Named for Richard Dean Anderson’s character in the 1985 television show MacGyver. (“It’s okay, I MacGyvered my side window back together with duct tape and a popsicle stick.”)
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Business Words and Their Meanings

The 2008 recession affected more than the business and finance sector – it changed the way the world talks about work. At the risk of mentionitis, check out these new business-related words that now appear in the dictionary.

  1. Bicycle-sharing (adjective): Self-service rental business in which customers can rent shared bicycles for a short period of time. (“The new bicycle-sharing company has reduced local street traffic.”)
  2. Cannabusiness (noun): Companies involved with the production and sale of cannabis or cannabis-related products. (“Recent marijuana legislation has made it easier to open a cannabusiness in town.”)
  3. Gamification (noun): Making a low-interest activity more entertaining by adding game features such as point values, level goals, and prizes. (“The training materials included gamification options to increase participation.”)
  4. Gig economy (noun): Economic activity in which jobs are completed by freelance or temporary workers. Also known as “on-demand economy.” (“Knowing how to work remotely is important in today’s gig economy.”)
  5. Haircut (noun): A somewhat substantial financial loss. (“We really took a haircut in the fourth quarter, but we’ll make up the deficit next year.”)
  6. Mentionitis (noun): Continually mentioning a topic to the point of annoying a listener. (“Craig’s got a bad case of mentionitis when it comes to his crush on Vanessa.”)
  7. Onboarding (noun): The process of bringing a new employee up to speed with a company’s norms and organization. (“When Tyler finished his onboarding, he’ll be able to take customer phone calls without a supervisor present.”)
  8. Schmoozefest (noun): A professional or social event in which the goal is to make connections between people. (“The conference is going to be a huge schmoozefest where everyone networks and no one attends the seminars.”)
  9. Solopreneur (noun): A person who starts and runs a business alone. Combination of solo and entrepreneur. (“Even though a solopreneur works on their own, making connections with other business owners is important.”)


Advancing Technology Words

Even a written dictionary can’t escape 21st-century technology. Words that describe technological advances in the last several years can now be found alongside more traditional words in the dictionary.

  1. Cryptocurrency (noun): An electronic, encrypted currency. (“It’s easy to use cryptocurrency to handle online commerce and purchases.”)
  2. Cybersafety (noun): Staying safe when using the Internet. (“Practice cybersafety by never giving out personal account information or any of your passwords.”)
  3. Droning (adjective, noun, verb): Using a pilotless aircraft to conduct remote military operations. (“The droning mission resulted in maximum damage with zero civilian deaths, making it a tactical success.”)
  4. E-bike (noun): A bicycle with an electric motor. (“I can get to school much faster on my e-bike than on my regular bike.”)
  5. E-waste (noun, second meaning): Unnecessary or low-quality electronic content. (“All the e-waste in my inbox goes straight to the spam folder.”)
  6. Nomophobia (noun): The fear of being too far away from a mobile phone or mobile phone services. (“You’d think that my cousin has nomophobia since she never puts her phone down.”)
  7. Screen time (noun): The amount of time a user is exposed to a television, phone, tablet, or gaming device screen. (“Studies show that reducing screen time for young children leads to stronger cognitive connections later in life.”)
  8. Segway (noun): Type of a two-wheeled motorized vehicle in which the driver steers while standing. (“The Segway tour would enable us to see the city in a short amount of time than if we walked.”)
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New Insults in the 21st Century

Want to insult someone in the most modern way possible? Check out these 21st-century insults that are now available to learn in an everyday dictionary.

  1. Crudball (noun): An unpleasant person. (“My neighbor is being a crudball by complaining about every part of my yard.”)
  2. Dorkus (noun): A foolish or clumsy person. (“You look like a dorkus when you dance like that!”)
  3. Jerkweed (noun): An obnoxious person. (“Stop teasing me; you’re such a jerkweed!”)
  4. Jerkface (noun): An irritating person. (“I hope my annoying coworker doesn’t come to the party. He can be a jerkface in social situations.”)
  5. Noob (noun): An inexperienced beginner. Originally from online and gaming contexts, short for “newbie.” (“Don’t act like a noob at this meeting; I want people to think we’re professional.”)
  6. Schmucko (noun): A stupid person. (“I have a question but I’m afraid I’ll look like a schmucko for not knowing the answer.”)
  7. Snowflake: A person who expects to be treated as if their needs are unique and special. Often synonymous with oversensitive. (“That show is funny, not offensive. Don’t be such a snowflake.”)
  8. Weak sauce (adjective): Pathetic, bad. Opposite of awesomesauce. (“That throw was weak sauce! Try to make it into the end zone!”)

More Vocabulary Resources

Don’t stop now – there are lots of ways to improve your vocabulary! Try out these tips that help you add words to your everyday speech. You can also choose vocabulary strategies that best fit your learning style.

(Video) 10 new English words added to the dictionary in 2019

Jennifer Gunner

Staff Writer


What are some modern words? ›

25 Trendy New Words in English That Native Speakers Use All the...
  • To Chillax.
  • Whatevs.
  • Freegan.
  • Hellacious.
  • Awesomesauce.
  • Cringe.
  • Stan / To Stan.
  • Sober-curious.
Mar 26, 2022

What are the new words in the dictionary 2022? ›

Our Favorite Merriam-Webster Dictionary Additions for 2022
  • Because (conjunction) ...
  • TBH (abbreviation) ...
  • Fluffernutter (n) ...
  • Amirite (interjection) ...
  • Copypasta (n) ...
  • Deplatform (v) ...
  • Whataboutism (n) ...
  • FTW (abbreviation)
Mar 22, 2022

What are the 600 new words in the dictionary? ›

The online dictionary has added 600 new words. Two of which are "supposably" and "finna." The site defines "finna" as a contraction of "fixing to" meaning "getting ready to do something." Dictionary.com defines "supposably" as "maybe assumed, imagined, or supposed."

What are the 30 new words? ›

Full list of words from this list:
  • betrayal. the quality of aiding an enemy.
  • bully. discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner.
  • celibate. abstaining from sexual intercourse.
  • cliche. a trite or obvious remark.
  • coalition. the union of diverse things into one body or form or group.
  • demoniac. ...
  • disappear. ...
  • disposition.

What are the 20 new words? ›

20 New Words in English for 2020
  • Amotivation – Having no motivation or purpose. ...
  • Angeliferous – A person with a beautiful, sweet or innocent face, like that of an angel. ...
  • =3. ...
  • Angsting – Someone who is worrying or agonizing over something is “angsting.”

What are the 10 new words in English? ›

Let's explore 10 new words you'll need for 2021:
  • Adulting. Definition: The action of becoming or acting like an adult. ...
  • Awe walk. Definition: Taking a walk outside and making an effort to look at the things around you. ...
  • Contactless. ...
  • Doomscrolling. ...
  • PPE. ...
  • Quarenteen. ...
  • Thirsty. ...
  • Truthiness.

What is the Oxford word of the year 2022? ›

vaxxie n. A photograph of oneself taken during or immediately before or after a vaccination, especially one against Covid-19, and typically shared on social media; a vaccination selfie. anti-vax adj. Opposed to vaccination.

What are the newest words in the dictionary? ›

Among the new additions: Oobleck, air fryer, whataboutism, FTW, and fourth trimester. Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding.

What are the top 100 English words? ›

100 most common words
WordParts of speechPolysemy
itsPossessive pronoun2
75 more rows

What are 20 difficult words? ›

20 Most Difficult Words to Pronounce in the English Language
  • Colonel.
  • Worcestershire.
  • Mischievous.
  • Draught.
  • Quinoa.
  • Onomatopoeia.
  • Scissors.
  • Anemone.
Apr 10, 2019

How many words are in the Oxford dictionary 2022? ›

Oxford Dictionary has 273,000 headwords; 171,476 of them being in current use, 47,156 being obsolete words and around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries.

How many words are in the English language 2022? ›

Merriam-Webster online dictionary informs its readers that their latest official edition includes approximately 470,000 entries. Main page of Oxford English Dictionary official website states that they cover over 600,000 terms.

What is a 50 word sentence? ›

A 50-word sentence is used to get you to summarize a topic we are discussing clearly and correctly. I know a 50-word sentence is a run-on sentence and would make English teachers cringe.

What are the 1000 most common words in English? ›

Our list of the 1000 most common and frequently used words in English IN ORDER OF FREQUENCY.
  • cut.
  • decide.
  • republican.
  • full.
  • behind.
  • pass.
  • interest.
  • sometimes. security.
Nov 11, 2021

What are the 10 most popular words? ›

According to the website myfavoriteword.com, the ten most favourite words are as follows:
  • Defenestrate.
  • Justice.
  • Bilious.
  • Ennui.
  • Nevertheless.
  • Blubber.
  • Mooncalf.
  • Sequoia.
Sep 21, 2011

What's the most used word in 2021? ›

This revelation was made by Google with the help of its tool Ngrams, which had been launched in 2009. Most-used phrase in 2021: Google has revealed the most used phrase of 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, “now more than ever” had been the most used phrase, this changed to “new normal” in 2021.

What are the 20 most used words? ›

The 100 most common words in English
1. the21. at61. some
17. with37. when77. no
18. his38. your78. way
19. they39. can79. could
20. I40. said80. people
15 more rows

Can you find at least 20 words? ›

Answer: Teachers, cheaters, hectare, reteach, create, there, creates, three, ache, hater, react, chart, reacts, charts, trace, cart, care, tear, rate, race, each. Hope it helps you.

What is the best new word? ›

List of 100 new English words and meanings
New English WordMeaning
awe-inspiringlySo impressively, spectacularly, or formidably as to arouse or inspire awe.
awesomesauceExtremely good; excellent.
awfulizeTo class as awful or terrible
awfyTerrible, dreadful; remarkable or notable.
95 more rows
May 11, 2022

How do I pick a word 2022? ›

2022 Word of the Year Ideas
  1. Abundance.
  2. Adventure.
  3. Align.
  4. Authentic.
  5. Available.
  6. Aware.
  7. Balance.
  8. Become.

What's the most used word in 2022? ›

Instead, here are the five most popular words and phrases of 2022.
  • Metaverse. A popular word thanks to the blockchain technology explosion in 2021, people are more curious than ever about the metaverse. ...
  • Non-binary. ...
  • UBI. ...
  • Supply Chain Crisis. ...
  • NFT.
Feb 17, 2022

What is your 2020 word? ›

Two major dictionary publishers have chosen pandemic as the 2020 word of the year. Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both declared their choices on Monday. Merriam-Webster said its decision was based on the “extremely high numbers” of people who had looked up pandemic in its online dictionary in 2020.

What is the oldest word? ›

According to a 2009 study by researchers at Reading University, the oldest words in the English language include “I“, “we“, “who“, “two” and “three“, all of which date back tens of thousands of years.

What do you mean by BAE? ›

noun. an affectionate term used to address or refer to one's girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.: I love you, bae. adjective bae·er, bae·est. greatly admired or loved. very cool; great.

What is word of the day today? ›

Word of the Day: Litany. Merriam-Webster.

How do you say 1500 in English? ›

1500 in English Words

Thus, we can read 1500 in English as “One thousand five hundred”.

What are the first 100 high frequency words? ›

The top 100 high frequency words (in order of frequency of use) are: the, and, a, to, said, in, he, I, of, it, was, you, they, on, she, is, for, at, his, but, that, with, all, we, can, are, up, had, my, her, what, there, out, this, have, went, be, like, some, so, not, then, were, go, little, as, no, mum, one, them, do, ...

What are the 5 hard words? ›

7 most difficult English words that will let you forget what you wanted to say
  • Rural. ...
  • Sixth. ...
  • Sesquipedalian. ...
  • Phenomenon. ...
  • Onomatopoeia. ...
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. ...
  • Worcestershire.

What word takes 3 hours to say? ›

Methionylthreonylthreonylglutaminylarginyl… isoleucine is the chemical name for the protein of “titin” also known as “connectin.” The largest known protein that consists of 26, 926 amino acids is made up of 189, 819 letters and can take about three hours to pronounce.

How do you say 20 hard words in English? ›

How to Pronounce 20 Difficult Words in English | Easy English 70

What are the 10 hardest words? ›

10 most difficult words in English
  • Literally. If you know a language purist, watch out. ...
  • Ironic. Here is a word that has confused almost all English speakers – native or otherwise. ...
  • Irregardless (instead of regardless) ...
  • Whom. ...
  • Colonel. ...
  • Nonplussed. ...
  • Disinterested. ...
  • Enormity.
Nov 16, 2021

Which is the longest word in English? ›

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is the longest word entered in the most trusted English dictionaries.

What is the shortest word in the world? ›

The shortest word is a. Some might wonder about the word I since it consists of one letter, too. In sound, a is shorter because it is a monophthong (consists of one vowel), while I is a diphthong. Both do consist of one letter in the English writing system, and in most fonts I is the narrowest letter.

How many 5 letter words are there? ›

According to Free Dictionary, there are 158,390 words with five letters. Volume 6 of Office's Scrabble Dictionary claims there are 8,996 available words with five letters while other sources claim that there are only 5,350 words that you can create with five letters in word games.

Is YEET in the dictionary? ›

verb (used with object) to hurl or move forcefully: Somebody just yeeted a water bottle into the crowd. He's an early riser, so his mom never had to yeet him out of bed! to move forcefully or quickly: My cat yeeted out of there in a big hurry.

What are the 10 new words in English? ›

Let's explore 10 new words you'll need for 2021:
  • Adulting. Definition: The action of becoming or acting like an adult. ...
  • Awe walk. Definition: Taking a walk outside and making an effort to look at the things around you. ...
  • Contactless. ...
  • Doomscrolling. ...
  • PPE. ...
  • Quarenteen. ...
  • Thirsty. ...
  • Truthiness.

What are some cool English words? ›

60+ of the Coolest, Most Epic and Interesting Words in the English Language
1. Apocalyptic16. Equilibrium31. Mitigate
2. Bamboozled17. Exquisite32. Nefarious
3. Bizarre18. Flippant33. Onomatopoeia
4. Blasphemy19. Gerrymandering34. Persnickety
11 more rows
Jun 11, 2022

What is the most recent word? ›

Zyzzyva has achieved notoriety for being the last word in several English-language dictionaries.

What are real English words? ›

Any word that has meaning in the English language is a real word. The term 'real word' is often used alongside the teaching of nonsense words as a point of comparison. Nonsense words are made-up words that are used to help teach key phonetic sounds.


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