Inauguration Inspires New Dictionary Entry

Merriam-Webster's volume now includes 'Second Gentleman'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2021 12:15 PM CST
Inauguration Inspires New Dictionary Entry
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff attend the Celebrating America concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Jan. 20.   (Joshua Roberts/Pool photo via AP)

Merriam-Webster is adding more than 500 words and phrases to its dictionary to kick off 2021, including one term inspired by the inauguration. With Doug Emhoff's elevation to the role of "Second Gentleman," the term is "finally common enough to have met our entry criteria," Merriam-Webster says in a statement, per the Hill. Emhoff, a faculty member at the Georgetown University Law Center, shared the news in a Thursday tweet. "I may be the first, but I won’t be the last," he wrote. However, the dictionary notes the term—defined as "the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction"—has been applied to the male partners of state leaders in the past.

It's also adding the terms "silver fox" (a good-looking, middle-aged man with gray or white hair), "hard pass" (a firm refusal or rejection), "flex" (an act of showing off), "hygge" (a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable), "sapiosexual" (of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to highly intelligent people), and "cancel culture" (the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure). It's also adding coronavirus-related terms "pod," "bubble," and "wet market," in addition to the abbreviations BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), per a release. (See the dictionary's word of 2020.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.