ˈhȯ-glət by Merriam-Webster

hoglet (noun) ˈhȯ-glət : a baby hedgehog

Natasha Kuneff, Managing Editor

The first known use of hoglet occurred in 1611, yet it only became defined by Merriam-Webster in September of 2022. The popular online dictionary recently added 370 words to their official bank, including formal terms commonly used in peer-reviewed journals (such as “greenwashing”) and slang (such as “cringe”).

This change may not impact lives, but it shows the direction in which language is changing. Words, like greenwashing, are becoming a commonplace scientific term, and even slang becomes standard as time goes on. Merriam-Webster, unlike other dictionaries such as Urban Dictionary, is considered to be of a higher caliber, so any additions it makes to their wordbank consequently increases the quantity and variety of words used to teach children in elementary school and the amount of people in higher education or professions who use it.

Merriam-Webster commonly adds new words, either yearly or biyearly in most cases. If you are interested in learning more, there is a bank of all the new words included.

Here are a few of the new words:

  • laggy : having a delayed or slow response (as to a user’s input) : marked or affected by lag
  • surface wave : an earthquake vibration propagated near the surface of the earth
  • free dive : to swim beneath the surface of water especially at considerable depth without a portable breathing device and typically with a face mask and one or two flippers : to engage in free diving
  • space force : the military organization of a nation for space warfare
  • terraform : to transform (a planet, moon, etc.) so that it is suitable for supporting human life
  • janky informal : of very poor quality : JUNKY; also : not functioning properly or adequately : FAULTY
  • sus (slang) : SUSPICIOUS, SUSPECT
  • gift economy : a system in which goods and services are given freely between people rather than sold or bartered
  • side hustle : work performed for income supplementary to one’s primary job
  • booster dose : a supplementary dose of a therapeutic agent designed to increase the effectiveness of one or more previously administered doses
  • emergency use authorization : an authorization granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during a public health emergency that allows for the use of a drug or other medical product prior to its full approval
  • false negative : a person or test result that is incorrectly classified as negative (as for the presence of a health condition) because of imperfect testing methods or procedures
  • false positive : a person or test result that is incorrectly classified as positive (as for the presence of a health condition) because of imperfect testing methods or procedures
  • LARP : a live-action role-playing game in which a group of people enacts a fictional scenario (such as a fantasy adventure) in real time typically under the guidance of a facilitator or organizer (verb, LARPER, and LARPING also have new entries)
  • level up : to advance or improve (oneself, someone else, or something) in or as if in a game
  • pumpkin spice : a mixture of usually cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and often allspice that is commonly used in pumpkin pie
  • omakase noun : a series of small servings or courses (as of sushi) offered at a fixed price and whose selection is left to the chef’s discretion omakase adverb or adjective : “according to the chef’s choice”

While a lot of the words are based on COVID-19, there are also cultural ones that relate to life and gaming. There is great variety in the new words, but some sections are still too broad for their meanings (such as LARP and hoglet under “Just Having Fun”). I am sure once both of the respective fields widen, either for cute baby animals or live-action role-playing games, so will the terms under their respective categories.