These words will be easily recognizable to chronic users of the internet, having achieved widespread use. The Merriam-Webster dictionary aims to catalog how language is used, rather than how it should be used, so it often includes odd entries such as slang and internet acronyms. Other words that made the cut included video doorbell, supply chain, space force, and false negative. Acronyms such as FWIW (for what it’s worth) and ICYMI (in case you missed it) were also included.
“The dictionary chronicles how the language grows and changes, which means new words and definitions must continually be added. When many people use a word in the same way, over a long enough period of time, that word becomes eligible for inclusion,” Merriam-Webster wrote in the announcement of the new additions.
The dictionary also notes that slang terms are traditionally harder to meet its criteria but that the internet has eased this process.
“Words in this category have traditionally taken longer to meet our criteria, but that timeline is getting shorter as the internet accelerates the adoption of informal language,” the dictionary wrote.
Even to those familiar with the words, the addition of them to the dictionary adds some interesting context and research that frequent users might not be aware of. “Sus” was first documented, used in its current form, defined as slang for suspicious or suspect, in 1955. “Cringe” has its first documented usage in the 13th century, but the first usage in its modern form was in 1983.
The juxtaposition of the professional dictionary with some of the example sentences used may result in some humor as well.
“Why pwn the noobs from your couch when you could do it in front of an audience at New York’s first-ever Fortnite In The Heights Tournament?” an example sentence for “pwn” reads, credited to Eva Kis.
“Last week, American Airlines took its turn, canceling over 1,600 flights. Weather was dutifully blamed again, along with staffing shortages. But the latter excuse is, as the kids say, pretty sus,” the example for “sus” reads, credited to Amy Roberts.
This most recent example isn’t the first time unconventional words have been added to the dictionary, however. TL;DR, bougie, rando, and hangry were all added in 2018, according to Mental Floss.