Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

‘Adulting’ and other new-age words defined

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

‘Adulting’ and other new-age words defined

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Sami Muirhead's pick of the new words added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

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Word nerds, unite! Merriam-Webster added more than 500 definitions to the dictionary this year. So, let’s debrief on five words I think we will all need to be aware of for the rest of 2021.

‘Awe walk’ is top of my list. The official definition is taking a walk outside and trying to really take in all the things around you. For me personally, I get more excited on a lunchtime on Thursdays when it is takeaway Vietnamese spring roll day at work and I awe walk my belly down in the lift to buy my hot rolls of goodness. I have also been spotted at the bottle shop awe walking the aisles of gin.

Word number two on our list is ‘adulting’. Sigh. Adulting is hard to do and its loose definition is when you want to watch Netflix for six hours at night and eat cheese and fish fingers for dinner, but instead you decide to read to the kids and do the washing and make school lunches. I repeat: adulting is hard.

Our third word is ‘doomscrolling’, where you scroll through electronic news expecting it all to be bad. Well, is that really a new concept? The first thing I was taught at university is to write about the one plane that crashed and not the 99 that landed safely.

‘Quaranteen’ is also on the list. It refers to teenagers who are in quarantine or doing lockdown with your family. Usually the teenager is moody and only leave their room to make ridiculous demands for more food and more data for their TikTok.


‘Thirsty’ is on the list and refers to the need for attention or approval. I know what you are thinking: doesn’t thirsty mean needing to drink? Well, Merriam-Webster added a new definition of the word meaning a strong desire for attention – especially on social media. This is an example of how to use thirsty: my co-worker has posted four pictures of herself in a bikini this weekend, so she is clearly thirsty for us all to know she is still rocking a bikini.

And the last one is ‘WFH’.  It stands for work from home. Thanks to the pandemic, many of us are working from home, which means we are probably spending more time adulting and doomscrolling and awe walking, while the kids are definitely quaranteening more in their rooms.