Hella is an American slang term that originated in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has since spread to become native slang to all of Northern California. And since I believe Cartman uses the term on South Park, I guess it goes even farther geographically. I just read something about hella being added to the dictionary, but actually hella is an old word – coined in 2002, fifteen long years ago! It has been in certain dictionaries, I would assume, for a lot longer than this past year. If you aren’t familiar with the word, it seems to mean about the same as helluva, such as in,”I had a helluva good time!”  It does often describe the word good:  This pizza is hella good!

Every year thousands of new words are added to various dictionaries. Here are some of this year’s words. Don’t worry, slang still exists, and words are marked as slang if they are indeed slang.

Oxford  English Dictionary

Gender-fluid: androgynous; a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender.

Clicktivism: Signaling support for a political or social cause through social media, online petitions, etc., rather than by more substantive involvement.

Moobs: Yup, man boobs.

YOLO (“You only live once”): The view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future. 

Non-apology: A statement that looks or sounds like an apology, but does not acknowledge responsibility or express regret; an insincere or unconvincing apology.

Yoda: A person who embodies the characteristics of Yoda — an elder, sage, or guru.

Squee: A high-pitched squealing or squeaking sound produced by an animal, musical instrument, etc.

Merriam-Webster Online

Accentophile: A person who enjoys foreign accents.

Belignorant: Belligerent and ignorant.

Breakfunch: A small meal eaten between breakfast and lunch. (Then what is brunch?)

Confungry: Confused and angry.(Shouldn’t this be confangry? This sounds more like confused and hungry!)

Definotly: Definitely not. (I hope this didn’t come about because people cannot spell definitely!)

Equalist: A person who believes that all people are created equal regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or general beliefs. (Deal me in.)

Fabulize: To make fabulous.

Gayborhood: A neighborhood where the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people live and/or work.

Jokative: Causing laughter.

Mantrum: A man tantrum.

Misophonia:  Anger created by the sound of someone eating.

Shooista: A person very passionate about shoes.

Silent Generation: The generation born from the mid-1920s to the early 1940s. (Think about this one!)

Sillerious: Silly and serious.

Word of the Year

The American Dialect Society just named “dumpster fire” Word of the Year. Why? Because the phrase best represents the public conversations of 2016.

This society of linguists, grammarians, and word scholars has awarded this prize each year since 1990, when bushlips  (insincere political rhetoric,) won Word of the Year.  This year more than 300 members of the Linguistic Society of America voted at a standing-room-only reception during the society’s annual conference. (There’s a visual: standing room only at a reception of the Linguistic Society). Dumpster fire triumphed over normalize and  post-truth. There is even a “emojical” representation of the word: (How do you like the word I just made up for this occasion: emojical? I hope it makes the 2017 dictionary!)

Merriam-Webster  also has a word of the year: surreal.  Dictionary.com chose xenophobia, and Oxford Dictionaries selected post-truth. 

Last year, there was a clear front-runner: they, used as a singular third-person pronoun.

And like this year, the words often have political meaning. For example, past winners include binders (full of women). 

Dumpster fire    without the emoji actually  originated in 2009, when sports radio host Mike Wise used the phrase to mean an “abomination of a loss.” 

And yes, there is an emoji of the year, and  is it!

Now we know Words with Friends won’t take emojis (yet), but how many of these new words will they take?