New food words added to the dictionary

The English language is always evolving, with new words continually entering the lexicon. Sometimes the new words describe new technologies, other times it is a word from another language that is adopted wholesale into English. Definitions get expanded as well, when a word is used in a new manner often enough. This year, Merriam-Webster added 640 new words, and many of them are food-related.

Among this year’s entries are chai latte, double-dip, and dulce de leche. Benedict gets an expanded definition of “eggs Benedict or a variation on eggs Benedict made with one or more different ingredients.” Steak likewise gets another definition, with items other than beef being considered for the first time. One that surprised me is cheesemonger, as I had thought that was just a very old word that had become popular again.

If you are scratching your head wondering why the words that you have been using for years are finally landing in the dictionary, the answer is simple. Merriam-Webster uses a process that takes into account how often the word is used and in what context. Sometimes a word will take a very short time from invention to adoption (they cite AIDS as an example of one that was quickly entered), other times it can take years before it achieves critical mass.

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  • whitewoods  on  December 20, 2019

    Cheesemonger is a very old word. It says that the first known use of it dates back to the 12th century.

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