Merriam-Webster adds WTF, NSFW, photobomb and other tech words

It takes a while for some tech-specific words to become dictionary official, so when they get the blessing of Merriam-Webster et al, we take notice.

Merriam-Webster talked about its new additions this week, and it chose to highlight quite a few tech-related terms in its blog post.

NSFW: The dictionary is straightforward: “not safe for work; not suitable for work — used to warn someone that a website, email attachment, etc., is not suitable for viewing at most places of employment.” In other words, porn is NSFW, at least at most jobs. And another new dictionary entry, or at least what it stands for, may be NSFW, either: WTF.

Emoji: It feels like we’ve been throwing this word around forever, and in fact Merriam-Webster notes that its first known use was in 1997 and it’s Japanese in origin. Emoji are, of course, those (sometimes cute) little images that convey emotion in texts and online communications. Included in the dictionary definition is that emoji “communicate a message playfully without using words.” But as we noted in today’s On Topic, there’s a new app that offers emoji that communicate domestic abuse. Another example of serious emoji: They’re being used on protest signs.

Meme: Here’s a usage example Merriam-Webster provides that explains it perfectly: “The grumpy cat meme frowned its way onto the Internet in September 2012 and never turned its dissatisfied head back.” Nowadays, all we can do is cross our fingers that an embarrassing photo of us, complete with snarky caption, doesn’t turn into a meme.

Photobomb: Dictionary says “to move into the frame of a photograph as it is being taken as a joke or prank.” It’s so common that Merriam-Webster notes as an example a review of a phone with a camera with a photobomb-eraser feature.

Also included on the list of new words: sharing economy, net neutrality, clickbait, clickfraud.

 

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