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Entertainment Weekly

Books

'Stan,' 'EGOT' among 640 words added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

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The times, they are a-changing.

Merriam-Webster has announced the addition of 640 words to its dictionary. “The English language never sleeps, and neither does the dictionary,” Merriam-Webster wrote in its official announcement. “The work of revising a dictionary is constant, and it mirrors the culture’s need to make sense of the world with words. There are always new things to be named and new uses for existing words to be explained. A release of new words is also a map of the workings of a dictionary — you get to see what we’ve been up to — and of how words from different contexts come to reside in the same place.”

Among the most eye-catching newbies? “Stan,” for one, is now included as both a noun (“an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan”) and a verb (“to exhibit fandom to an extreme or excessive degree”). Eminem is typically credited with popularizing the term in his 2000 track “Stan,” but it was Nas who, in 2001, developed the word as a catch-all for obsessive fans in his 2001 song “Ether.” (“You a fan, a phony, a fake, a p—y, a Stan.”)

Then there are the entertainment-focused additions of “EGOT,” referring to the winner of the entertainment industry’s four highest honors; “buzzy,” defined as “causing or characterized by a lot of speculative or excited talk or attention”); and “bottle episode.” The latter addition feels particularly prescient, given recent talk around Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode, which has controversially received the distinction from some. Merriam defines “bottle episode” as “an inexpensively produced episode of a television series that is typically confined to one setting.” Maybe a country counts as a single setting for Game of Thrones, but “inexpensively produced”?

And for the politically-minded, “snowflake” has finally been updated to reflect a favorite informal partisan insult. It’s now also defined as “someone who is overly sensitive.”

Check out the full list here.

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