Special Report

50 Most Popular Words That Entered the Dictionary in the Last Decade


The average 20-year-old native speaker of American English knows 42,000 words, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology. He or she learns another 6,000 words between the ages of 20 and 60. This is about one word every two days. This is not a lot considering that about 4,000 words and phrases are added every year.

OED, however, is not the only Oxford dictionary. The Oxford dictionaries, which also include the Concise Oxford Dictionary, are created to describe how languages are changing, as opposed to dictate how they should be used. They look at data that tracks language use and context. A team of lexicographers, which includes a range of language experts, uses the data to determine words that should be prioritized for inclusion in the dictionary. As a result, some words are added again as they have come to mean something completely different.

To determine the most popular additions to the dictionary since 2008, 24/7 Wall. St. looked at all 8,121 new words. New subordinate entries and phases, as well as added new meanings to words already in the dictionary, were excluded. To approximate the popularity of each word, we approximated which of the new words were Googled the most in the period between November 1 and November 30, 2018 using Google’s Adwords keyword planner.

Homographs, such as “truck” and “shopping,” have also been excluded. They are spelled the same, but have different origin and meaning. Words that are being used as prefixes such as “digi-” have also been removed.

The list is based on Oxford English Dictionary, but the definition of the words is taken from Oxford Dictionaries.

The following list is ranked in order from the word with the least Google impressions to the most. Due to the fact that some of the new words have several very different meanings, a few words ended up ranking high on the list, even though they were probably searched in terms of an informal definition that was not included in the Oxford dictionary.

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