You can now look up the definitions of “nepo baby” and “shower orange” on dictionary.com.

Literature
Emily Temple

September 6, 2023, 7:00am

Attention word nerds: today, Dictionary.com announced its latest update, which includes 566 new entries, 348 new definitions for pre-existing entries, and 2,256 revised definitions.

New additions include terms you likely know (nepo baby, decision fatigue, box braids) and a few terms you may not, unless you are more online and/or cooler than I (shower orange, atmospheric river, mountweazel). The full list of new terms can be found here.

“People are so creative! As you can imagine, recording the ever-changing language is incredibly enjoyable while also being intellectually stimulating,” said Grant Barrett, head of lexicography at Dictionary.com and co-host of the public radio show A Way with Words, in a press release. “Even though dictionary-making is what we do, we’re still delighted with the variety, depth and complexity of this big batch of terms. There’s so much that shows how vibrant the language is, as it keeps up with changes in culture and society.”

This update also includes another major change: Dictionary.com’s lexicographers have removed binary-gendered phrases across the dictionary’s entries. “On the inclusivity side, his or her does not include people who use other pronouns,” they explained in the same press release. “In terms of usage, they is simply much more common as a generic pronoun than he or she, including in spoken and all but the most formal types of written English.”

“We always strive for Dictionary.com to be clear and helpful for our users,” Barrett added. “Updating binary-gendered phrases makes the entries more similar to how people actually speak and write. The entries are now more natural-sounding.”

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