Staying Woke* with New Words



English is a language of flux, always moving and shifting with the changes among us as we evolve. Each year, it introduces around 1,000 new words to represent the events, circumstances, and spirit of the day. Today’s cyber-centric existence makes it only easier for those new words to spread and multiply.

We thought it would be both fun and interesting to look at some words that have emerged, gained greater traction, or found fresh use in recent years. Some might be familiar to you; others may be additions to building a current-day hipster vocabulary.

Word Meaning
agender (adj) not having an internal sense of being male or female
anthropocene (adj) denoting the current geological age, in which human activity is the dominant influence on global climate and the environment
anytown (n) a real or fictional place regarded as typical of a small U.S. town
aphantasia (n) the inability to form mental images
app (n) an application, especially one downloaded by a user to a mobile device
binge-watch (v) to watch multiple episodes of a TV program in rapid succession
bromance (n) a close but non-intimate relationship between two men
click bait (n) provocative or sensational content meant to attract visitors to an online video, story, or website
illiterati (n) people who are not well educated or well informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity
mansplain (v) (of a man) to explain something to someone, often a woman, in a way considered condescending or patronizing
Word Meaning
mic drop (n) (metaphorical) dropping a microphone after making a final statement or an impressive performance to convey utter completion
mini-me (n) a person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of oneself
pain point (n) a recurring problem (as with a product or a service) that often inconveniences a business or its customers
photobomb (v) to insert oneself into another person’s self-taken picture by appearing unannounced or uninvited in the scene
solopreneur (n) an independent entrepreneur
textspeak (n) language characteristic of the limited format and space of text messages, such as acronyms, abbreviations, initials, and emojis
they (n) pronoun now expanded to refer to a singular person as well as more than one person
unfriend (v) to remove someone from one’s list of friends or contacts on a social networking site
upcycle (v) to reuse discarded object or material to create something of greater quality than the original
vape (v) to smoke using an electronic cigarette

The current day has also given us many other words to capture the zeitgeist, such as awesomesauce (great, really cool), hangry (upset because of being hungry), beer o’clock (the right time of day to start drinking beer), and whatevs (short for whatever). Only time will tell if such words remain viably dry on grammatical land or fade out to sea with words such as synergy and paradigm shift.

In the meantime, you can use them freely whenever you feel like making your current language more lit. 

*(adj) aware of the facts, true situation

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at 11:00 pm

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7 Comments on Staying Woke* with New Words

7 responses to “Staying Woke* with New Words”

  1. Joan Heiman says:

    Thanks so much for this post. It clarified quite a lot. But I was hoping for explanations of hashtag and gaslighting. Can you add them to your next list, please? With much gratitude for all you do.

  2. Sandra M. says:

    Stay safe! I loved this one. Most of it made me laugh, and some of it made me shake my head (smh). LOL

  3. Sam K. says:

    Are you serious “they” to refer to a singular person… No…. please, noooo!

  4. Bill P. says:

    At age 77, I’m really not interested in building a current-day hipster vocabulary.

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