The Dictionary Joins the 21st Century with Inclusion of Social Media Terminology

Actor and recording artists Will Smith may have been gloating when his popular tag line “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” promoted the eventual inclusion of the word “jiggy” into the dictionary, social media has now one-upped the “Men in Black” star.

Social media’s influence on our daily lives – and language – is now more palpable than ever. This week, Merriam-Webster has added the words “tweet” and “social media” to its legendary Collegiate Dictionary.

“From the dramatic events of the Arab Spring to the scandal that brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner, tweet is a word that has been part of the story,” says Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s Editor at Large. “We’ve been tracking words like social media and tweet for years, of course, and now we feel their meanings have stabilized enough to include them in the dictionary.”

Of course, other – more “hip” dictionaries – have already caught up to the times. In case you’re unfamiliar, The Oxford English Dictionary not only recently added the word “tweet” to its vast collection of words, but also “retweet.”

Even “sext” made the cut.

Still, the revision is significant, as Merriam-Webster hasn’t released a revised body of work since 2009 when the now long-established and well-known words like “vlog,” and “pdf” were dumped into the fray.