The recession blues are represented.
Merriam-Webster added "systemic risk" and a new definition for "underwater," to describe the heartbreaking realization that you owe more on your mortgage than your property is worth. Among other new economic terms is an extra definition for "toxic," as it relates to an "asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market."
Flexitarian, traced to 1998, is defined as "one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish," while obesogenic (dating to 1986) is an adjective for "promoting excessive weight gain: producing obesity."
Stamper calls flexitarian one in a long line of "you are what you eat" entries.
"As our society has become more aware of our eating patterns, we've seen a proliferation of its use," she said. "There are people who object to the very idea of being a flexitarian, and therefore to the existence of the word."
Obesogenic remains a term more restricted to technical writing, Stamper said. It refers to an environment where something or some pattern — food deserts in a city, for example — is suspected of putting people at risk for obesity.
"Over the last few years, it's showed up quite a bit in more general sources, like The New York Times," she said.
Merriam-Webster leads the dictionary market, said John Morse, president of the privately held company who wouldn't release sales figures. He also wouldn't release a full list of new entries, in part to put off competitors.
"Let them find their own new words," he joked. "It's not a cutthroat business but we like to say it's a bare knuckles business." Morse did acknowledge: "It's harder for some paper dictionaries to stay in business in the era of online dictionaries."
And he allowed for a sneak peak at the Top 25, rounded out by:
Craft beer, e-reader, game changer, a new definition for "gassed" as slang for drained of energy, gastropub, geocaching, shovel-ready (a construction site ready for work) and tipping point.
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Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary online: http://www.merriam-webster.com
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