New Words for 2009: “Frenemy,” “Staycation” and “Green-Collar”

25 Nov 2009


Okay, so if you’re like me (read: if you’re a big word geek), you kind of look forward to finding out which of this year’s “it” terms make the transition from blogs and pop culture to bona fide dictionary entries.

Merriam-Webster just released their list of words that will be included in the updated 2009 edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Here are a few of Merriam-Webster’s picks for 2009:

• A frenemy is someone who pretends to be your friend, but — you guessed it — is really out to get you (I was a little surprised to learn that, according to Wikipedia, this word has been kicking around since the early 1950s — I mostly associated it with lame reality TV stars and tween girls).
• A locavore is somebody who eats fresh, local food whenever they can.
Shawarma is a pita-bread sandwich, usually filled with sliced lamb or chicken (and, if you haven’t had one, you’re missing out – sooo good).
• If you’ve got a green-collar job, you’re getting paid to do something to help protect the environment – like trying to reduce your carbon footprint (also a new word for 2009 – it seems the environment was a hot topic this year).
• And, of course, there’s a staycation, or taking a vacation without leaving home – 2009’s answer to getting a little R & R in a lackluster economy.

Also on the list: reggaeton, memory foam, waterboarding, fan fiction – and more. You can check out all of Merriam-Webster’s new words and their definitions on their website.

So, what do you think? Did the folks at Merriam-Webster get it right? Do you agree with their choices? What are your personal picks for the best new words of 2009?

Let us know what you think!

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