First, dubstep infected the pop charts – now it's wound up in the dictionary. That trendy genre label has entered Merriam-Webster's 2014 Collegiate edition, along with "auto-tune" and, in a sure sign of a coming cultural apocalypse, "selfie." In total, 150 new words and definitions have been added, with most – including "hashtag," "spoiler alert" and "tweep" – reflecting "the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking," the company said in a statement.
In case you need to define your listening habits, "dubstep" (first used in 2002) is defined as "a type of electronic dance music having prominent bass lines and syncopated drum patterns," while "auto-tune" (2003) means "to adjust or alter (a recording of a voice) with Auto-Tune software or other audio-editing software esp. to correct sung notes that are out of tune."
In a definition zero people are likely to use in an actual conversation, "selfie" (2002) is "an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera esp. for posting on social networks." For clarification, "hashtag" (2008) is "a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that clarifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet)," and a "tweep" (2008) is defined as "a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets." Meanwhile (SPOILER ALERT) a "spoiler alert" (1994) is a "reviewer's warning that a plot spoiler is about to be revealed."
Other terms included on the new list include "catfish" ("a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes"), "social networking," "crowdfunding," "steampunk," "Yooper," "unfriend" and "fracking."
The 2014 edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary is available now at the company's website. In a clever move of self-promotion, "tweeps" are urged to use the "hashtag" #MW2014NewWords during their "social networking" adventures.