Update Your Auto Correct: Merriam-Webster Adds Hashtag, Selfie, And Crowdfunding to Dictionary

If you thought it was tough reading through a Shakespeare play back in high school, imagine if he was alive today and you had to explain the terms currently in use, such as "selfie" and "hashtag." The former might not be so difficult, though the latter could present a challenge. It's one that Merriam-Webster has taken on by adding the two terms, along with several others, to its 2014 Collegiate Dictionary.

"These new additions to America's best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person," Merriam-Webster explains.

So, how do you define a hashtag? According to Merriam-Webster, it's a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet). Simple enough, right? As for selfie, that's a noun that refers to an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.

Selfie
Image Source: Flickr (Knox County Government)

"So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods," explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. "Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification, and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways."

Merriam-Webster also added a new definition for catfish -- a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes. In total, Merriam-Webster added over 150 new words and definitions, all of which are available now in print and online.

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