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Do You Have the ‘Bandwidth’ to Cope with That ‘Dumpster Fire’? We Don’t

With 850 new words and phrases — including 'mansplain' and 'welp' — Merriam-Webster seems to have all bases covered

How fast can you say “dumpster fire” (as opposed to “disaster”)?

One source has now made this informal expression more than kosher.

Here’s the example of its use in a sentence: “So while 2017 has been, by many measures, a complete dumpster fire of a year, New Yorkers can at the very least take refuge in the fact that their city is becoming an even safer place to live. — Clayton Guse”

Merriam-Webster (M-W) has been chronicling many of the language changes across our nation for 180 years — and its latest edition (from which that above example is taken) includes a rather astounding 850 new words and phrases that run the gamut. New words to thrill every dedicated linguist on the face of the earth appear across such categories as biology, economics, food, pop culture, and technology.

“The one constant of a vibrant living language is change, and English has never been more alive than it is today,” Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, announced in a press release. “In this age of fast communication, and technological and scientific advances, we continuously encounter new ways of describing the world around us — and the dictionary is a record of these changes.”

M-W is less than subtle when it comes to social commentary online — and politics are no exception. On its Twitter feed, for example, it regularly features contemporary content that taps into trending hashtags or issues.

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When White House counselor Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts” in reference to Sean Spicer’s comments about President Donald Trump’s inauguration, for example, M-W posted this obvious snark:

So far, M-W’s additions this year have been pretty well-received, at least on social media. “Dumpster fire” appears to be among users’ favorites, but “embiggen” and “cryptocurrency” are also making an online splash. (But you’ll have to access or read the whole thing for all the new entries.)

(Embiggen loosely means enlarge, along the lines of embolden — and it’s straight out of “The Simpsons”; and cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses encryption techniques. But we digress.)

If you’re on the couch snacking on “tzatziki,” hoping to strike it rich while mining “bitcoin” or searching for “unicorns,” Merriam-Webster will help you out with the spelling. This is especially important if you’re going to “subtweet” some shade about it, possibly to someone who tried to “mansplain” the whole concept of “cryptocurrency.”

And if you’re flat-out of emotional “bandwidth” for coping with the “dumpster fire” of the day’s news, “welp” — then maybe the best “self-care” strategy is to take a break from “hate-watching” the next season of the show you’re binge-watching.

Or “mm-hmm” what you need to do is just pack up your pet “schnoodle” and go “glamping” until you both feel better.

And for folks who might be beyond the millennial years, by the way, M-W included a handy “life hack” — and only those with “narcissistic personality disorder” would thumb their noses at it. Among the newest additions to the national lexicon is “silver alert,” or a widely publicized bulletin telling the public that an elderly person or someone with a cognitive disability has gone missing.

Anyway, these are definitely “first world problems” and not meant as “microaggressions” (oh, that’s right, those two are from last year’s word list — nvm).

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

(photo credit, homepage image: Collegiate Dictionary with Open Book and Bookshelf, CC BY-SA 4.0, by Noah1806; photo credit, article image: Merriam-Webster Dictionaries, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Merriam-Webster)

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