A Word from Robbin

Robbin Orbison

Spring Words – 2022 Edition

Looking for some new additions to your spring vocabulary collection? You’re in luck! Merriam-Webster recently announced 25 words that will enter the dictionary for the first time in 2022, and they are so worth talking about, not least of all because one of them is coworking!

Some of these are words you have heard before, but they are only just now making it officially into the dictionary. These groupings are my own, and they are in no particular order, other than I feel compelled to cover coworking first (yikes, is that performative?)

Merriam-Webster requires a word to reach a certain level of usage or circulation before declaring it worthy of a dictionary listing. When I started talking about coworking on the Cape in 2015, almost no one I met had ever heard the word. Today, thanks in part to our press-grabbing friends at WeWork, awareness has reached the necessary critical mass. So thanks to all for using coworking enough to get Merriam-Webster’s attention!

And while we are at it, two other work-related words made it. Makerspace, which is essentially coworking with a workshop, has caught on, as well as gig worker, a currently popular synonym for freelancer and one of the drivers of the growth in coworking.

You may have heard us use terms like flex, flexspace and flexible office to describe coworking. Flex was already a word; it’s on this list because they have added a new definition, and it has nothing to do with coworking. It’s actually a synonym for bragging or showing off. Next time someone says something in a meeting to show how smart they are, just tell them to stop flexing.

Eleven of the new words were spawned by politics and pandemics. The most interesting of these is folx, which is an alternative spelling of folks that is considered to be more inclusive than folks. And without getting into pandemic blues, the word bubble has been given a new meaning to specifically describe areas around professional sports teams designed to isolate them from COVID.

Some of the new words are highly useful. I like hard pass, a new version of no-way-Jose; silver fox (think George Clooney); and the entry distinctive for not actually being a word, @, a verb meaning “responding to, challenging, or disparaging the claim or opinion of someone.” So if you don’t like this blog, don’t @ me. It’s not clear where this will appear alphabetically in the dictionary.

I also like sapiosexual. I can’t think of when I might ever use it in a sentence, but it’s a fascinating term for an individual who is romantically attracted to high intelligence.

Two words I can’t believe weren’t already inducted are crowdfunding and Jedi. Right?

Lastly, lest you thought I would leave you hanging, coming back to performative. This is another old word with a new meaning. I actually never heard the word before, and its old meaning is abstract and not especially relevant. The new meaning is also a little abstract but practical. It means something done for show, for example, transparent kissing up – a phrase over which performative is a clear improvement.

You can read the full list along with Merriam-Webster’s commentary on their selection here: https://www.rd.com/list/new-words-dictionary/

What’s your favorite new Merriam-Webster word? Let us know! Send us an email at info@capespace.com.