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New Scrabble dictionary picks up the language of the millennials

By Karen Brooks

(Reuters) - Young players of the classic word game Scrabble, perhaps disenfranchised by its decade-old lexicon, can "chillax" now that this multi-generational favorite is being updated to speak the language of the millennials.

The fifth edition of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, published by Merriam-Webster, goes on sale Wednesday and includes 5,000 new words that editors say will help the 66-year-old game stay relevant.

Some older players and Scrabble purists might find the inclusion of words like "bromance" and "selfie" to be a "buzzkill" because some of the additions seem so fresh.

But most of the additions are likely to be long-studied and time-tested, with obvious staying power, said Grant Barrett, a San Diego dictionary editor and co-host of the nationwide public radio show "A Way with Words."

"The list is, to me, a great step forward," Barrett said. "I think you've got to add the new words. Otherwise you risk this turning into an archaic game that nobody wants to play because the daily language isn't accepted there. It's got to keep up."

The publishing house this week released a sample of the new words, which add 30 pages to the dictionary last updated 10 years ago.

In addition to "bromance," "chillax," "selfie" and "buzzkill," the list includes terms like "hashtag," commonly used with Twitter; "dubstep," an electronic dance music that has gained popularity in the past few years; "texter," referring to one who texts; and "meh," an expression of ambivalence used on social media and in text messaging.

New additions such as "webzine" and "frenemy" and "funplex" have been around a decade or two and may feel a little closer to Gen X terminology. The same goes for "mixtape" and "beatbox," also in the new book, which took their places firmly in the American vernacular by the end of the 1980s but have stayed current in spite of changes in technology and pop culture.

"It's not just the words that get into society," said Chris Cree, co-President of the North American Scrabble Players Association in Dallas, which oversaw the update. "They are also words that have the potential of sticking around."

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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