Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A noble spirit embiggens the new batch of Dictionary.com words

The Simpsons
The Simpsons
Image: Fox

Dictionary.com got a lot more cromulent this weekend, having embiggened its database of acceptable words—even though “embiggen” supposably isn’t even a real word. And yes, we said “supposably,” because both supposably and embiggen are among the hundreds of new additions to Dictionary.com that the site announced recently, thereby making them official real words (assuming you get your words from Dictionary.com). Other new words include “sponcon” (short for “sponsored content”), “deepfake,” “BIPOC” (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color), “doomscrolling,” and “Zoom.”

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The addition of Zoom would be considered sponcon if the Zoom people paid for it to be included, unless the President Of Zoom’s authorization was forged through the use of deepfake technology. Going back to embiggen, it was initially popularized by The Simpsons, which you surely know if you’re reading The A.V. Club, but it also gained more recent popularity through Ms. Marvel comics, which have used it to describe superhero Kamala Khan’s body-expanding superpowers. It is also worth noting that Merriam-Webster added “embiggen” years ago, though both sites have still pointedly refused to add “steamed ham” (a term used in Utica, New York for hamburgers, even when they are obviously grilled) or “chazzwazzer” (an Australian word for a green amphibian that hops and has a long tongue).

Dictionary.com has also embiggened and altered some existing definitions, like “slave” being replaced with “enslaved” in order to avoid dehumanizing people. In a statement (via Mashable), Dictionary.com managing editor John Kelly said updates like that are meant to “[reflect] how our society is reckoning with racism, including in language.” Other updates that reflect our society reckoning with stuff, specifically the ongoing pandemic, include “superspreader,” “flatten the curve,” and “blended learning” (which is when you stop doomscrolling long enough to go to your Zoom school, where they’ll try and teach you that “supposably” isn’t a word).