In February 2017, the Oxford English Dictionary added 300 new words to its collection now recognized as official words of the English language. Here’s some of the favorites we’ve been hearing and speaking for a while now and are, believe it or not, real words!

Cat lady (noun) An older woman who lives alone with a large number of cats, to which she is thought to be obsessively devoted.

Climate refugee (noun) A person who has been forced to leave their home as a result of the effects of climate change on their environment.

Craptacular (adjective) Remarkably poor or disappointing.

Fitspiration (noun) A person or thing that serves as motivation for someone to sustain or improve health and fitness.

Haterade (noun) Excessive negativity, criticism, or resentment.

Sausage fest (noun) An event or group in which the majority of participants are male.

Screencast (noun) A video recording or transmission of the data displayed on the screen of a computer or mobile device, typically with accompanying audio.

Shoestring fries (noun) French fries sliced extremely thinly.

Squad goals (noun) Used in reference to a person or thing seen as a model to aspire to or emulate, especially with one’s friend, often as a hashtag in social media.

Third gender (noun) A category of people who do not identify as male or female, but rather as neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

Yas! (exclamation) Expressing great pleasure or excitement.


How/why are these official words?

If you think a hard, thick book of the dictionary is a thing of the past, think again. It’s actually constantly being updated with the commonly-used words of today!


According to the OED’s website, the new material added may be “revised versions of existing entries” to replace older versions. This article from highlights the influence of the world around us on language. Often times, the dictionary is updated to reflect the ever-changing vocabulary of the times: new words trending in the media are the first to be named actual words. Despite the fact that most of these words gain popularity purely for humor or as recognized “hashtags” on social media, the OED writes up a legit, dictionary-perfect definition for each.


The OED adds new words to its collection 4 times a year. Be sure to check back in June for the latest update!


Photo credit: patheos


Are you surprised, or maybe even laughing, at the new official words of the dictionary? What up-and-coming words do you want to see in the next version? Share in the comments below!


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