Language is forever growing and evolving; and while I always look for ways to use some of those older quaint words that seem to have got lost somewhere, I am also always delighted at how many new words get added for our use each year. Starting with words and terms that earned the spot of the ‘Word of the Year’ in various dictionaries, to other popular terms and words, today I bring you a few of the cool words of the year. Picking just 13 of them proved to be the toughest part of writing this post!
Note: a few of them are still not officially in any dictionary
With two teenagers (well, one will no longer be a teenager in a few days time!) in the family, I am forever finding myself slammed with new words that I have no idea of, like “pwn,” or guess the meaning because of sound or context, like with “sus.” While both these teen-slang trends have found themselves in the dictionary this year, there are always new trends and I am glad that I can ask my teens though it is majorly cringe (or yes, there are online resources and of course, Google to the rescue!)
Speaking of Google, and of popular words, apparently Wordle has created search trends and many of the most popular (like top 10) search terms on Google this year are five letter words that appeared on Wordle (like ‘caulk,’ ‘tacit,’ and more).
Now on to the 13
Cool Words of the Year (The Ones That Made It This Year: Both the Old & New)
Continuing the Google-Wordle trends of the year, homer was one of the top searches which ended up helping it earn its spot as Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year! This search-frenzy was likely because of unhappy Wordle players who saw the end of their long winning streak with this word.
Homer (noun): informally, short for home run
This is the Oxford Word of the Year, and it is a slang term that means “a type of behavior that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, and in a way that rejects social norms.”
Collin’s Dictionary’s 2022’s Word of the Year is permacrisis, a fitting word for what has been most of the recent few years globally. Collins defines it as “an extended period of instability and insecurity.”
Gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year. Defined in the M-W dictionary as ““the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage,” gaslighting has certainly unfortunately been on the rise, not just in online searches, but in reality too.
This seemingly simple word that we all know more popularly as a pleasant color is Macquarie Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Why? This definition of the word might make more sense then.
teal: (noun): in politics – an independent political candidate who holds generally ideologically moderate views, but who supports strong action regarding environmental and climate action policies, and the prioritizing of integrity in politics. [so called as many of the candidates use the color teal in their electoral material] (source)
This is a slang term that I read about so very often this year in various news articles, and refers to the practice of reducing the amount of effort one devotes to one’s job, such as sticking to the bare minimum needed, and not taking on anything else. Check out more about quiet quitting on dictionary.com.
Quiet quitting: remaining in one’s workplace while not actively going above and beyond
Note: Since this post is all about the words, I am going to write another post another day about my thoughts on this 🙂
I love this word; no idea why. On one hand, I should not really be liking it so much, but I do. Anyway, back to the word itself. Metaverse is another of the popular words this year that showed up repeatedly in articles, web-searches, and such. Most often used to refer to the concept of “a highly immersive virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work,” this word has its origins a 1992 novel titled Snow Crash (I need to find it now!). Also check out this article on M-W.com about the word.
metaverse (noun): a collective virtual shared space
I love such words, portmanteaus, that is! Aren’t they just tots adorbs? A word that combines “adorable” with “dorky” to describe someone as being likable because of their socially awkward or quirky ways.
adorkable (adj): unfashionable or socially awkward in a way that is appealing or cute; awkwardly endearing!
Low-key (and also High-key)
The terms low-key and high-key are ones I have heard on numerous occasions at home and in coversations my teens have with each other, or with their friends! And low-key found its way to many lists of ‘top words of the year’ for this year.
If you say anything is low-key, you are referring to keeping it quiet, or really simple, staying under the radar, sort of. And teens use it most often to talk about things they are somewhat interested in or when keeping something secret maybe! Like “I am low-key failing this class and don’t want anyone to know” or “I am low-key obssessed with this TikTok influencer.”
Conversely, high-key is commonly used when you want to emphasize something. Like, “I high-key love this fit.” (note- fit is short for outfit, IK, rite?!!)
So, it might be just a little sus sometimes if you (or me, as a parent) hear this term, for what is it that needs to be low-key, you wonder?! Jokes apart, low-key is certainly a phrase that is high up, and on the rise!
Doesn’t it make you happy, just to read this word? It is pretty self-explanatory, for it means what it says! Why is this word on this list? Well, with all that has happened in the past couple of years (kind of not saying he-who-must-not-be-named!), one of the nicer things that did happen is that we all actually heard more birds singing around our homes! It could be that traffic noises earlier drowned out the dawn choruses, or could be that they simply had moved elsewhere and the quieter times of recent years brought them back from the wherevers to our, or rather, their neighborhoods again!
Dawn chorus (noun): the singing of wild birds right after sunrise, or at dawn
Another term I saw in a few news articles earlier this year, and realized how we are most likely being gaslighted and don’t even realize it. Well, actually, we have been noticing shrinkflation actively ourselves – in the bag of chips that seems to be increasingly full of air rather than chips, or that big box of cereal that then offers up a puny amount of it when we fill our standard cereal canisters with the contents. I am sure you have noticed and experienced it too. This recent article on The Week proved to be an interesting read,
Shrinkflation (noun): is the practice of reducing the size or quantity of a product while maintaining its sticker price
Another portmanteau – from copy and paste with a humorous twist at the end – this formerly slang term, now in dictionaries, is something all of us have seen at one point or the other. Either on social media comment threads, or on our own blogs as spam comments. Some of these copypasta seem to have gained almost viral status as well!
Copypasta (noun): text that has spread widely on the internet as a result of being repeatedly copied and pasted
Not yet in any dictionary, but I have heard this one way too often this year in my home 🙂 And am I glad I hear it! It simply means my daughter enjoys my cooking after all…. because that is what it is most often used for. Bussin is used to refer to something absolutely lip-smacking, or really good. While mostly used to talk about food, bussin is also used to describe just about anything that is amazing!
Bussin (adj – slang): really good, usually to describe food
Related Reads for Words of the Year
This post goes towards Thursday Thirteen
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, which of these wondrous words of the year do you use often, or have wondered about? What is your favorite new word this year? And what is the latest slang term that you actually like using, or which one do you think might disappear, or make its way into the dictionary?
8 thoughts on “13 Cool Words of the Year: Both Old and New”
Bussin is the only new one to me. It’s amazing to me that gaslighting is enjoying such a moment when the movie it comes from is, what? 80 years old? Something like that.
Wait, that’s not true. I hadn’t heard teal in that context nor copypasta. Some interesting words there.
My introduction to the word “gaslighting” was an Alfred Hitchock movie I saw decades ago. I had to go look up the title. The movie was called “Gaslight,” a husband was doing his best to make his wife crazy by saying what she saw hadn’t happened.
Good list. Makes me think many of them won’t last, especially the slang! Or maybe many are country specific usage. Didn’t know Teal had this alt meaning either. Always interesting when new words pop-up but I struggle to use most of them in my writing 🙂
When I saw Homer, all I could think of was Homer Simpson! LOL. I also love the word Adorkable.
Now, this was an informative and fun post! Learned some new words and nodded to some I’m low-key using- see what I did there? Shrinflation and Quiet Quitting and will always remind me of life post-pandemic…
Very entertaining post! I enjoyed and laughed through it. I love them all , but adorkable especially.
This is a really interesting post! I’m very ‘old school’; which is ironic considering I’m not even 30 yet. But I’ve always preferred the old ways of doing and saying things instead of modern slang. It just feel wrong on behalf of the grammar to say it differently. Thank you for sharing this list with us!
I knew all these! Many of the employees and volunteers I supervise at work are a decade younger than me, so I guess they keep my vocabulary young.