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

October 16, 2018 by Steven M. Peters

Source: noipornpan / iStock
How many words are there in the English language? Trying to answer this question may take longer than actually getting a dictionary and counting them one by one. It depends on how you define “words” and whether you only count those still in use. The one indisputable fact is that English is growing.

The Oxford English Dictionary, widely considered the most authoritative record of the English language, adds anywhere between 500 and 1,500 new words or phrases — and sometimes even more — every March, June, September and December. This is a huge addition to an already rich language that has been estimated to include about 1 million words.

The OED keeps a record of over 1,000 years of English. It is a guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words — obsolete and current — from all countries that speak the language.

24/7 Wall St. identified the most popular words that officially entered the English language over the last decade. We reviewed more than 8,000 new words in the Oxford English Dictionary, and approximated their popularity using Google AdWords keyword planner.

Click here to see the 50 most popular words that entered the dictionary in the last decade.
Click here to see our full methodology.

Source: Gerardo_Alvarez / Getty Images

50. glamping
> Google impressions: 430,000
> Introduced: June 2016

Oxford dictionary definition: A form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.

Origin: Early 21st century: blend of glamorous and camping.

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Source: Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images

49. kettlebell
> Google impressions: 475,000
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: A large cast-iron ball-shaped weight with a single handle.

Source: Louno_M / Getty Images

48. matcha
> Google impressions: 505,000
> Introduced: June 2016

Oxford dictionary definition: Powdered green tea leaves, dissolved in hot water to make tea or used as a flavouring.

Origin: Japanese, from matsu ‘to rub’ + cha ‘tea’, from Chinese ( Mandarin dialect) chá (see tea).

Source: Alexander Koerner / Getty Images for Ethical Fashion Show Berlin

47. jeggings
> Google impressions: 510,000
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

Origin: Early 21st century: blend of jeans and leggings.

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Source: SomeMeans / Getty Images

46. bralette
> Google impressions: 511,000
> Introduced: December 2016

Oxford dictionary definition: A tight-fitting crop top with thin straps.

In U.S.: An unlined bra without underwires or a clasp.

Origin: 1950s (with reference to a corset-like bra): from bra + -let.

Source: Sofia Zhuravets / Getty Images

45. shapewear
> Google impressions: 570,000
> Introduced: December 2008

Oxford dictionary definition: Women’s tight-fitting underwear intended to control and shape the figure.

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Source: jacoblund / Getty Images

44. YouTuber
> Monthly google searches 575,000
> Introduced: December 2016

Oxford dictionary definition: A person who uploads, produces, or appears in videos on the video-sharing website YouTube.

Origin: Early 21st century: from YouTube, the proprietary name of the video-sharing website.

Source: elnavegante / iStock

43. intel
> Monthly google searches 576,000
> Introduced: December 2010

Oxford dictionary definition: Information of military or political value.

Origin: 1960s: abbreviation of intelligence.

Source: pixelfit / Getty Images

42. LOL
> Monthly google searches 594,000
> Introduced: March 2011

Oxford dictionary definition: Used to draw attention to a joke or amusing statement, or to express amusement.

Origin: 1980s: abbreviation of laughing out loud or laugh out loud.

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Source: Zephyr18 / Getty Images

41. ransomware
> Monthly google searches 599,000
> Introduced: January 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Source: Jacob Wackerhausen / Getty Images

40. ripple
> Monthly google searches 631,000
> Introduced: June 2010

Oxford dictionary definition 1: A small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by a slight breeze or an object dropping into it.

Oxford dictionary definition 2: A type of ice cream with wavy lines of coloured flavoured syrup running through it.

As verb: (of water) form or flow with a series of small waves on the surface.

Origin: Late 17th century (as a verb): of unknown origin.

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Source: PeopleImages / Getty Images

39. au pair
> Monthly google searches 631,000
> Introduced: September 2013

Oxford dictionary definition: A young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.

Origin: Late 19th century: from French, literally ‘on equal terms’. The phrase was originally adjectival, describing an arrangement between two parties paid for by the exchange of mutual services; the noun usage dates from the 1960s.

Source: Szepy / Getty Images

38. Skype
> Monthly google searches 637,000
> Introduced: June 2014

Oxford dictionary definition: Have a spoken conversation with (someone) over the Internet using the software application Skype, typically also viewing by webcam.

Origin: Early 21st century: from Skype, the proprietary name of a software application and VoIP service.

Source: jacoblund / Getty Images

37. CrossFit
> Monthly google searches 670,000
> Introduced: September 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: A high-intensity fitness programme incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise.

Origin: Early 21st century: blend of cross training and fit.

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Source: fizkes / iStock

36. smeg
> Monthly google searches 702,000
> Introduced: June 2013

Oxford dictionary definition: Used as a mild expletive.

Origin: 1980s: origin uncertain, but often interpreted as a shortening of smegma; first used on the British television series Red Dwarf.

Source: vgajic / Getty Images

35. Webinar
> Monthly google searches 721,000
> Introduced: December 2008

Oxford dictionary definition: A seminar conducted over the Internet.

Origin: 1990s: blend of web and seminar.

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Source: avdyachenko / Getty Images

34. podcast
> Monthly google searches 763,000
> Introduced: December 2008

Oxford dictionary origin: A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

As verb: Make (a digital audio file) available as a podcast.

Origin: Early 21st century: from iPod + broadcast.

Source: egal / Getty Images

33. spirulina
> Monthly google searches 770,000
> Introduced: June 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: Filamentous cyanobacteria which form tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa and Central and South America.

Origin: Modern Latin, from spirula ‘small spiral (shell)’.

Source: b-d-s / iStock

32. totes
> Monthly google searches 784,000
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: Totally.

Origin: Early 21st century: alteration of totally.

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31. bumble
> Monthly google searches 827,000
> Introduced: September 2018

Oxford definition dictionary: Move or act in an awkward or confused manner.

Or to speak in a confused or indistinct way.

Or with adverbial (of an insect): buzz or hum.

Origin: Late Middle English (in the sense ‘hum, drone’): from boom + -le.

Source: nito100 / Getty Images

30. sexting
> Monthly google searches 845,000
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford definition dictionary: A service forming part of the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, traditionally said (or chanted) at the sixth hour of the day (i.e. noon).

Origin: Late Middle English: from Latin sexta (hora) ‘sixth (hour)’, from sextus ‘sixth’.

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29. crowdfunding
> Monthly google searches 849,000
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford definition dictionary: The practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.

Source: gorodenkoff / Getty Images

28. firewall
> Monthly google searches 849,000
> Introduced: December 2015

Oxford definition dictionary: A wall or partition designed to inhibit or prevent the spread of fire.

In computing: A part of a computer system or network which is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication.

Another term for Chinese wall.

As verb: Protect (a network or system) from unauthorized access with a firewall.

Source: stuartmiles99 / Getty Images

27. cyber-
> Monthly google searches 861,000
> Introduced: December 2010

Oxford dictionary definition: Relating to or characteristic of the culture of computers, information technology, and virtual reality.

Origin: 1980s: abbreviation of cybernetics.

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Source: RJHeurung / Getty Images

26. firebase
> Monthly google searches 1.0 million
> Introduced: December 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: An area in a war zone in which artillery can be massed to provide heavy firepower to support other military units.

Source: egal / Getty Images

25. Brexit
> Monthly google searches 1.0 million
> Introduced: December 2016

Oxford dictionary definition: The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Origin: 2012: blend of British (or Britain) and exit, probably on the pattern of Grexit (coined earlier in the same year).

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Source: diego_cervo / Getty Images

24. SMS
> Monthly google searches 1.1 million
> Introduced: December 2009

Oxford dictionary definition: Short Message (or Messaging) Service, a system that enables mobile phone users to send and receive text messages.

As noun: A text message that is sent or received using SMS.

As verb: Send someone a text message using SMS.

Source: PJPhoto69 / Getty Images

23. cosplay
> Monthly google searches 1.1 million
> Introduced: December 2008

Oxford dictionary definition: The practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga or anime.

As verb: Engage in cosplay.

Origin: 1990s: blend of costume and play after Japanese kosupure, ultimately from English costume play.

Source: EkaterinaZakharova / Getty Images

22. CD
> Monthly google searches 1.1 million
> Introduced: March 2012

Oxford dictionary definitions:

A compact disc.

Civil defence

Corps diplomatique (diplomatic corps)

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21. Astro
> Monthly google searches 1.2 million
> Introduced: March 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: Relating to the stars or celestial objects.

Origin: From Greek astron ‘star’.

Source: DMEPhotography / iStock

20. stan
> Monthly google searches 1.2 million
> Introduced: June 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: An overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.

As verb: Be an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.

Origin: Early 21st century: probably with allusion to the 2000 song ‘Stan’ by the American rapper Eminem, about an obsessed fan.

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Source: AndreyPopov / iStock

19. ISA
> Monthly google searches 1.2 million
> Introduced: September 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: (in the UK) an individual savings account, a scheme allowing individuals to hold cash, shares, and unit trusts free of tax on dividends, interest, and capital gains. In 1999 it replaced both personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs).

In computing: Industry standard architecture, a standard for connecting computers and their peripherals.

Source: Jeff Dahl / Wikimedia Commons

18. Ba
> Monthly google searches 1.4 million
> Introduced: December 2013

Oxford dictionary definition: In ancient Egypt, the supposed soul of a person or god, which survived after death but had to be sustained with offerings of food. It was typically represented as a human-headed bird.

Or: The chemical element barium.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Ge
> Monthly google searches 1.5 million
> Introduced: March 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: The chemical element germanium.

In Greek Mythology: another name for Gaia

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Source: Oleksii Spesyvtsev / iStock

16. ringtone
> Monthly google searches 1.5 million
> Introduced: January 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: A sound made by a mobile phone when an incoming call is received.

Source: sveta_zarzamora / Getty Images

15. kombucha
> Monthly google searches 1.6 million
> Introduced: June 2013

Oxford dictionary definition: A beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria.

Origin: Japanese konbucha, literally ‘kelp tea’; the origin of the English meaning, which is not found in Japanese, is unclear and may reflect a development in another language.

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Source: JohnnyGreig / Getty Images

14. Eurostar
> Monthly google searches 1.6 million
> Introduced: March 2008

Oxford dictionary definition: The high-speed passenger rail service that links London with various European cities via the Channel Tunnel.

Source: PhotoBylove / Getty Images

13. SSD
> Monthly google searches 1.6 million
> Introduced: March 2013

Oxford dictionary definition: A storage device containing non-volatile flash memory, used in place of a hard disk because of its much greater speed.

Origin: 1980s: abbreviation of solid state drive or solid state disk.

Source: kapulya / Getty Images

12. asana
> Monthly google searches 1.8 million
> Introduced: September 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: A posture adopted in performing hatha yoga.

Origin: From Sanskrit āsana ‘seat, manner of sitting’.

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Source: Grassetto / Getty Images

11. router
> Monthly google searches 1.8 million
> Introduced: March 2011

Oxford dictionary definition: A power tool with a shaped cutter, used in carpentry for making grooves for joints, decorative mouldings, etc.

Or: A device which forwards data packets to the appropriate parts of a computer network.

Source: FrozenShutter / Getty Images

10. Disney
> Monthly google searches 2.4 million
> Introduced: January 2018

Reminiscent of a film or theme park created by the Walt Disney Company, especially in being simplified, sanitized, or romanticized.

In North American Denoting: A non-custodial parent who, when spending time with their child or children, indulges them with gifts, special outings, and other treats, leaving disciplinary responsibilities to the custodial parent.

Origin: 1930s: from the name of Walter Elias Disney (see Disney, Walt).

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Source: kazatin / Getty Images

9. hoverboard
> Monthly google searches 3.0 million
> Introduced: September 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: (Chiefly in science fiction) a means of transport resembling a skateboard that travels above the surface of the ground, ridden in a standing position.

As trademark: A motorized personal vehicle consisting of a platform for the feet mounted on two wheels and controlled by the way the rider distributes their weight.

As a motorized personal vehicle consisting of a single central wheel with platforms for the feet on either side and controlled by the way the rider distributes their weight.

Origin: 1980s: from hover + -board (as in skateboard), popularized by the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II.

Source: Sergiodelgado / Wikimedia Commons

8. ai
> Monthly google searches 3.1 million
> Introduced: September 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: The three-toed sloth.

Origin: Early 17th century: from Tupi, imitative of its cry.

Source: SIphotography / iStock

7. ee
> Monthly google searches 3.3 million
> Introduced: June 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: Used to express a range of emotions including surprise, anger, disappointment, or joy, or when reacting to a remark’

Origin: Northern English form of oh.

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6. XXX
> Monthly google searches 4.2 million
> Introduced: September 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: The number equivalent to the product of three and ten; ten less than forty; 30.

Origin: Old English thrītig (see three, -ty). The spelling with initial thi- is recorded in literature in the 15th century, and has been the prevalent form since the 16th century.

Source: metamorworks / Getty Images

5. broadband
> Monthly google searches 4.8 million
> Introduced: September 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: A high-capacity transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously.

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Source: UberImages / iStock

4. audible
> Monthly google searches 5.6 million
> Introduced: June 2011

Oxford dictionary definition: Able to be heard.

In American Football: A change of playing tactics called by the quarterback at the line of scrimmage.

Origin: Late 15th century: from late Latin audibilis, from audire ‘hear’.

Source: fizkes / iStock

3. oppo
> Monthly google searches 5.9 million
> Introduced: June 2012

Oxford dictionary definition: A colleague or friend.

As a noun in the U.S.: short for opposition research

Origin: 1930s: abbreviation of opposite number.

Source: coffeekai / iStock

2. Facebook
> Monthly google searches 7.0 million
> Introduced: June 2018

Oxford dictionary definition: Spend time using the social networking website Facebook.

Origin: Early 21st century: from Facebook, the proprietary name of the social networking website.

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Source: LightFieldStudios / iStock

1. uber
> Monthly google searches 14.7 million
> Introduced: June 2015

Oxford dictionary definition: As a combining form – Denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.

Origin: German über ‘over’, after Übermensch.

Methodology

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.