SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- More than 640 new words have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

It’s a yearly tradition for the Springfield-based company to keep up with the times as new words and phrases hit the mainstream.

There is no exact count for the number of words in the English language, but we do know more than 640 of them were just made official.

“There's one constant in language, which is change. We know that existing words get new meanings and we know that new words come into the language," said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster.

Sokolowski told Western Mass News that adding words to the dictionary is a give and take relationship.

“We find the words used in print, often online, magazines, or books, or menus, and soup can labels. If we see a word that's used frequently, where a lot of people can see it, then it goes into the dictionary," Sokolowski added.

So, what are some of these new words?

“Snowflake? That sounds pretty good," said Freddy Lavigne, Jr.

Sokolowski explained, “it has a literal meaning, the thing that comes down in winter. Now, it can be used as someone regarded or treated as unique and also, it can be used to mean someone who is overly sensitive.”

Purple also being redfined.

“I don't understand half of what these kids are saying today," Lavigne noted.

Sokolowski said, “Red and blue have these political meanings ever since 2000. Purple now is a metaphor of this color, the blend of the colors. It means it’s a geographical area where voters are both Republican and Democrat.”

So does this mean your dictionary is out of date?

“From the big, unabridged version of the dictionary, we never took a word out," Sokolowski noted.

What if you have the smaller one, known as a collegiate dictionary?

“We want it to be the current active vocabulary of American English. We don’t want it to have a lot of obsolete terms," Sokolowski said.

Sorry, crossbowman.

“We sometimes take words out. They're honestly the most boring words you've ever encountered. One that was removed was crossbowman," Sokolowski said.

There are hundreds of new words and meanings and know this, online, they don’t get rid of any of them.

For more information on this year's word additions and definitions, CLICK HERE

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.