11 New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2021


We may only be three and a half months into 2021, but that doesn’t mean the words we use on a regular basis aren’t changing every day. In fact, the Merriam-Webster dictionary decided to add 520 — yes, 520 — new words to their already extremely long list. 

While some of these words are unique to the year 2021, others have been around forever (but just not used in everyday language as they are now). Don’t get me wrong — I appreciate Meriem-Webster’s dedication to constantly evolving, but I don’t know how many more words I can take! (Just kidding….kind of).

Anyway, from words we used all the time to more unique terms, here are a handful of new words that have been added to the dictionary in 2021: 

Long Hauler 

a person who experiences one or more long-term effects following initial improvement or recovery from a serious illness

Pod and Bubble 

a usually small group of people (such as family members, friends, coworkers, or classmates) who regularly interact closely with one another but with few or no others in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection during an outbreak of a contagious disease

Hard Pass

a firm refusal or rejection of something (such as an offer)


an act of bragging or showing off


being, relating to, or working in a building where multiple tenants (such as entrepreneurs, start-ups, or nonprofits) rent working space (such as desks or offices) and have the use of communal facilities

Silver Fox

an attractive middle-aged man having mostly gray or white hair

Prison Industrial Complex

the profit-driven relationship between the government, the private companies that build, manage, supply, and service prisons, and related groups (such as prison industry unions and lobbyists) regarded as the cause of increased incarceration rates especially of poor people and minorities and often for nonviolent crimes

Don’t @ Me

to respond to, challenge, or disparage the claim or opinion of someone


the practice of obtaining needed funding (as for a new business) by soliciting contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community

ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response)

a pleasant tingling sensation that originates on the back of the scalp and often spreads to the neck and upper spine, that occurs in some people in response to a stimulus (such as a particular kind of sound or movement), and that tends to have a calming effect


a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable