The Effective Author: Dictionaries Rock New Words

The Effective Author: Dictionaries Rock New Words

© 2018 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

just the right word

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Joy of New Words, describing how language is always evolving and we should have fun with it. I mentioned The Word Spy, which documents interesting new words and the media mentions he found. Since then, two giants that monitor the English language have come out with updated word lists, to the delight of word lovers everywhere. is an online dictionary and thesaurus company, with 15 or more different types of hardcover and softcover published dictionaries, including versions for college students, children, and English learners. They publish a visual dictionary and a Spanish-English medical dictionary, a French-English/Francais-Anglais dictionary, a Spanish-English version, and even a Geographical Dictionary. Anyone can check a word’s meaning on the website, or simply flip to the Thesaurus tab to look for different words with matching meanings. This year, Merriam-Webster has added 850 new entries. Among my favorites are glamping (glamour camping, or camping with full bathrooms), cryptocurrency (had to be added), and embiggen (to make bigger).

Merriam-Webster also publishes The Official Scrabble Players’ Dictionary, with the Sixth Edition just issued this past September 1. This edition has 300 new words. My favorites include zomboid (“resembling zombies”), ew (“used to express disgust”), and twerk (“to dance by shaking the buttocks while squatting”).

The Oxford English Dictionary, or OED, is published by the Oxford University Press. This year it was announced that almost 2,000 new entries have been added to its previous base of 829,000. The new entries are words, senses, and sub-entries. The OED was first published in unbound form, in 1887. Today, there are a number of variations, including Spanish, Gujarati, and Hindi, as well as compact versions and children’s versions. The complete OED is so huge that the Third Edition is not expected ever to be printed. It will be available only as a PDF. To have a little fun, scan the June 2018 additions at A few of my favorites include: embiggen (where have we seen that before?), shakshuka (an entrée egg dish), yessir (an emphatic agreement), and antwacky (old fashioned).

So it looks like the English language has been busily developing and using an average of 100,000 words per century. Humans apparently enjoy trying to find just the right verbal expression. New words allow us to say what we mean more specifically, as culture evolves. New words keep us and our writings fresh. And they are fuel for further joy and creativity for The Effective Authorsm!

Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She Kebba books 2017also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, and also Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group:

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4 Responses to The Effective Author: Dictionaries Rock New Words

  1. Rita Goldner says:

    Love this. I have been using “biggen” and “smallen” for years, ever since those powers became available on a computer (to biggen or smallen text or pictures.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita, I am so glad you enjoyed. I had actually never heard of using “biggen” and “smallen” before this month, so there you go. Did you hear these from someone/somewhere, or just come up with them on your own?


  2. I enjoyed your blog post, Kebba. I must confess I’m a bit bemused by “embiggen.” What’s wrong with simply “enlarging” something rather than “embiggening” it? But that’s me…a mite old-fashioned, I suspect. Good job of research here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Ellen, yes! The word “embiggen” sounds both jolly and silly to me. It makes me smile. I believe it refers specifically to enlarging using a slider, but maybe most are not that specific. Remember when “emulate” meant to admiringly imitate? And now software engineers say, “this software emulates this process”, meaning, “it imitates or approximates this process”. Sigh. I’m with you. I simply enlarge my photos. 🙂


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