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Mike Polk Jr. on the best and worst new words in the dictionary

Oxford and Webster added a bunch of new terms this year, but which are the general public really utilizing 'zingily' and which are people 'negging'?

CLEVELAND — Hey "folx"! Greetings to all you "zaddies," "zoomers," and "soda surfers" out there. I hope you're all feeling "hygge" today. 

And if you don't know what I'm talking about right now, hey, don't "wrinch" me,"y'all." I'm speaking proper English.

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As is customary, our wordy pals Oxford and Webster added a bunch of new terms to their respective dictionaries this year, and I try to stay informed on these changes to the language because "adulting," "amirite"? Those are real terms now, too.

But simply adding a word to the lexicon doesn't mean people have to actually like it. So, which of these new words are the general public really utilizing "zingily" and which words are people "negging" because they consider them total "chindogus"?

Well, luckily we now have some insight. Dictionary.com surveyed more than 1,000 people and asked them to rate a selection of these freshly minted terms to find out which ones they're into and which ones they're giving a "hard pass."

Let’s start with the good! Out of all the official new terms, here are the faves, according to the study:

"Side hustle" topped the list, referring to "a job that brings in extra income," a concept that many Americans have become all too familiar with in recent years as we continue to descend into a horrifying gig-based economy. Speaking of, I'm now selling hand-made customized bird houses on Pinterest, in anyone has any interest. I paint them while driving for Uber.

Another favorite was the addition of the familiar term "y'all," a convenient contraction of "you" and "all" that falls into the category of words such as "ain't" that Webster finally realized we were never going to stop using no matter how many times they corrected us. They figured they might as well just legitimize them, thereby making us all seem less collectively ignorant.

And I ain't complaining, y'all! We won!

According to the survey, nine in 10 men enjoy the term "gameplay" — referring to "player experiences in video games" — while four in five women are fond of "silver fox," which mean an attractive older man with gray or silver hair. So in order to make everyone happy, please enjoy this poorly Photo-shopped picture of Kevin Stefanski playing an X-Box.

Among the most hated new words we have? "Cheeseparing," which apparently means miserly or stingy. And I get it, that's a terrible word, and I'd appreciate it if everyone would just keep using the words "miserly" or "stingy" when you want to call someone cheap. Thanks.

Another most hated word was "misper," which refers to a "missing person." Awful.

First of all, do we really need a cutesy term to describe a missing person, like shortening "baby" to "bae"? Seems a little inappropriate.

Also, does it take that long to say "missing person" that we really needed to abbreviate it? I know time is of the essence in these cases, but it's two extra syllables. Relax, and let's start combing the woods. 

The English language is constantly growing and evolving, for better or worse, and regardless of how people feel about the new words, I, for one, would like to congratulate all of these former slang terms and euphemisms that recently graduated into legitimacy and entered our enormous, confusing, and beautiful vernacular.

But of course, that's just one zaddy's opinion.


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