During last year’s presidential debates, and through this year’s inauguration, Merriam-Webster has been an active presence on Twitter, sharing words experiencing an uptick in search, or funny, relevant trivia.
You might even say the dictionary provided a safe space on social media, or “a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.”
It’s fitting, then, that “safe space” is among the 1,000 new additions Merriam-Webster made to its online dictionary today. The word was first used in 1970, and has been used by colleges post-election to describe themselves as campuses that will protect students who might feel in danger due to their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race or gender.
In an announcement, Merriam-Webster explained its methodology: “In some cases, terms have been observed for years and are finally being added; in others, the fast rise and broad acceptance of a term has made for a quicker journey.”
In a statement to The Huffington Post, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski added that the words announced today were added to the dictionary’s digital pages. “The online dictionary gives us both more space to expand entries and a way to add them more quickly,” he said.
The new additions come from medicine, sports, literature, fashion, politics and technology. One even comes from the name of a prolific word inventor ― “Seussian,” meaning “suggestive of the works of Dr. Seuss.”