Lexicographers observe everything that’s happening and document language change, defining the terms that help us understand the era and the world we live in. Image Credit: Unsplash/Houcine Ncib

We’re more than halfway through 2023 and we’ve already seen some incredible things this year. Historically significant moments, like India’s latest moon landing. The dawn of the age of artificial intelligence (AI). There’s a lot happening, and language is working hard to keep up.

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we wade through a ‘pool’ of new lingo and jargon that’s been added to dictionaries this year.

Lexicographers observe everything that’s happening and document language change, defining the terms that help us understand the era and the world we live in. Here are a few of the latest additions and updates to Dictionary.com that give you an insight into what’s happening around us:

1. Antifragile (adj.)

This word is defined as ‘becoming more robust when exposed to stressors, uncertainty or risk’. It was coined by Lebanese-born American mathematical statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2012 book, Antifragile, and can be used for both people and objects.

2. Trauma dumping (n.)

This word means: ‘unsolicited, one-sided sharing of traumatic or intensely negative experiences or emotions in an inappropriate setting or with people who are unprepared for the interaction’. This could happen in a meeting at work, or on a TV talk show – and assail people when they least expect it.

3. Heritage language (n.)

Dictionary.com defines this word as ‘a language used at home and spoken natively by the adults in a family, but often not fully acquired by subsequent generations whose schooling and other socialisation occurs primarily in a different language, usually a dominant or official language in the surrounding society’. For instance, Hindi could be your heritage language, but even though you understand it to an extent, you may not be able to speak, read or write it very well.

4. Petfluencer (n.)

You’ve heard of influencers, but what about petfluencers? These are people who ‘gain a large following on social media by posting entertaining images or videos of their cat, dog or other pet’. The term is also often used to refer to the animal featured in the social content. Lexicographers expect the ending ‘-fluencer’ to be used frequently in the following years, to create more compound terms. For instance, grandfluencer refers to an older influencer, someone who could be old enough to be a grandparent.

5. Forever chemicals (plural, n.)

This word refers to long-lasting chemicals, like hydrofluorocarbons and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which are used in the manufacture of common household items, such as nonstick cookware and flame-resistant furniture. The chemicals remain in the environment because they break down very slowly over time, and consequently end up within the bodies of animals and humans.

6. Superdodger (n.)

Haven’t tested COVID-19 positive even once? You might be a superdodger. This word refers to ‘anyone who, for unverified reasons, remains uninfected or asymptomatic even after repeated exposure to a contagious virus’.

7. Tifo (n.)

If you’re a football fan, you likely have heard this term, which refers to a coordinated display of large banners, flags and even signs, performed in unison by the most fervent supporters and ultra-fans in a stadium. Originating from Italian, the word literally means ‘typhus (fever)’, and figuratively implies fevered, passionate support.

What do you think of these new dictionary additions? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.