The Merriam-Webster dictionary recently grew by 1,000 words, some of which will look familiar to those in healthcare. This year's latest additions to the dictionary include some common ones, such as EpiPen, and microbiome, as well as some more technical terms. Words that were added include:
Crispr: A gene-editing technique used to “turn off” specific genes. The name is an acronym derived from clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats
Prosopagnosia: A form of visual agnosia characterized by an inability to recognize faces.
Supercentenarian: A person who is 110 years old or older
Urgent care: Medical care provided for illnesses or injuries that require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an emergency room.
Phytoremediation: The treatment of pollutants or waste (as in contaminated soil or groundwater) by the use of green plants that remove, degrade or stabilize the undesirable substance
Other words added reflect changes in internet culture or technology, including humblebrag, photobomb, bot-net and binge-watch, and political terms such as SCOTUS, FLOTUS, town hall, truther and safe space.
All of these words have been observed, collected and researched, with many context examples used in definitions that explain both basic meanings and specific usage.
A recent update to the definition of agnostic now includes “not preferring a particular device or system” and “designed to be compatible with different devices (such as computers or smartphones) or operating systems,” since platform agnostic can refer either to a user or a program.