Merriam-Webster's dictionary new words: 'Spoiler alert,' 'selfie,' 'catfish' and more for 2014

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The English language is always adding new words. Why, just a few years ago, there was no way to tell a social-networking fangirl that it was a spoiler alert to talk about who was catfished on MTV last night, nor was there a way to properly discuss a social networking hashtag of a steampunk tweep taking a selfie while listening to auto-tune dubstep.

Merriam-Webster has fixed this by adding 150 new words to its official dictionary in 2014. Here are just some of the new additions:

  • Auto-Tune or auto-tune [transitive verb, 2003]: a proprietary signal processor, to adjust or alter (a recording of a voice) with Auto-Tune software or other audio-editing software, especially to correct sung notes that are out of tune
  • catfish [noun, 1612]: (second definition) a person who sets up a false person profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
  • crowdfunding [noun, 2006]: the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people, especially from the online community
  • dubstep [noun, 2002]: a type of electronic dance music having prominent bass lines and syncopated drum patterns
  • fangirl [noun, 1934]: a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something
  • hashtag [noun, 2008]: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text, such as a tweet
  • selfie [noun, 2002]: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks
  • social networking [noun, 1998]: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships, especially online
  • spoiler alert [noun, 1994]: a reviewer's warning that a plot spoiler is about to be revealed
  • steampunk [noun, 1987]: science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology
  • tweep [noun, 2008]: a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets

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