Hashtag, selfie, gamification and crowdfunding – new words in Meriam-Webster dictionary 2014


Hashtag, selfie, and tweep joined over 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2014, already available in print and online – www.Merriam-Webster.com.

The new additions to America’s best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.

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 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 football player Manti Te’o’s nonexistent girlfriend.

So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods (…) 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

Peter Sokolowski,

Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster

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 Canadian favorite poutine (“a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds”).

Other notable additions include freegan, fracking, and Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Some of the new words and their Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary definitions: big datacatfishcrowdfundingfrackinggamificationhashtagphopoutineselfiesocial networkingtweep.

Merriam-Webster Inc. is available for more than 150 years in print and now also in digital world and was, over the time, America’s leading and most-trusted provider of language information.