Written by Anne Stych
“Gig economy” might already be part of the everyday business lexicon thanks to Uber and Upwork, but now it’s officially been added to the dictionary.
Grab a go-cup (a plastic or paper cup used especially for taking a beverage off the premises of a bar, restaurant, etc.) and spend some screen time (time spent watching television, playing a video game, or using an electronic device with a screen such as a smartphone or tablet) checking out some of the 640 buzzy (causing or characterized by a lot of speculative or excited talk or attention) new words and compounds Merriam-Webster added to its listing this month, including gig economy (economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs typically in the service sector).
The work of revising a dictionary “mirrors the culture’s need to make sense of the world with words,” the publisher said in a release. Each word “follows its own path at its own pace” before its use is widespread enough for it to be included in a dictionary.
Also making this year’s list from the world of business is vulture capitalism: A form of venture capitalism in which aggressive methods are used to buy a distressed business with the intention of selling it at a profit.
And in addition to buzzy, new entries from the world of marketing include:
- Screen time (again) but meaning the amount of time someone or something appears on screen in a movie or television show (aka product placement)
- Page view: an instance of a user viewing an individual page on a website
- On-brand: typical of a particular brand or public image or identity
- Peak: extended to mean “being at the height of popularity, use, or attention,” as in “peak television”
The political climate inspired the addition of several new definitions for old words, such as snowflake, now used to mean “someone regarded or treated as unique or special” or “someone who is overly sensitive,” and purple, referring to geographical areas where voters are split between Democrats and Republicans.
And from the world of science comes Goldilocks: an area of planetary orbit in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to support life.
Wondering what business words are considered overused in 2019? Lake Superior State University has a list it calls Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness, and they include:
- Wheelhouse, as in area of expertise
- In the books . . ., as in finished or concluded
- Platform, as in a place to voice your opinion
- Collusion, as in two or more parties limiting competition by deception
- Thought leader
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