Pop culture & slang

There’s A Word For That: Our Dictionary Additions For Winter 2024

by Nick Norlen, Senior Editor, and Grant Barrett, Director of Lexicography

It’s 2024, and the pace of language change is as rapid as it has ever been. Our lexicographers are updating the dictionary more frequently than ever, doing the human-scale work of documenting words across the vast spectrum of the always-evolving English language. And wow, the variety is real.

This snapshot of our most recent additions showcases the breadth of terms that have emerged to name the nuances of modern life, including:

As usual, this update includes words that are new to the dictionary as well as entries that are newly revised (such as newly added senses of existing words like mid and squish). Keep in mind that words that are new to the dictionary are not always new to the language (or even remotely recent), but their addition often reflects a prominent place in the lexicon.

As always, all of our dictionary work is descriptive—we describe language as it is really used (not just how we or others may wish it would be used).

Learn more about how new words get added to Dictionary.com—and how the dictionary works.

Of course, some of the terms in the list below have more than one definition. We’ll highlight just the meanings most relevant to this release.

Girl Dinner. Iván Bravo. 2024.

girl dinner 

noun. an often attractively presented collection of snacks that involve little preparation, such as small quantities of cold cuts, cheese, fruit, cherry tomatoes, etc., deemed sufficient to constitute a meal for one.

📝 Girl dinner went viral after TikTok user Olivia Maher used the term in a video in May 2023, possibly shortening an earlier version, hot girl dinner, that often included decadent or youth-maintaining food.

adjective. mediocre, unimpressive, or disappointing.

adjective. great; wonderful; amazing.

📝 Popular among Gen Z, this term originates in African American culture and is likely based on various senses of bust meaning “to explode,” “to do well,” or “to enjoy.”

The Ick. Iván Bravo. 2024.

the ick
noun. a sudden feeling of disgust or dislike, often in response to the actions of another person.

📝 This phrase, popular in dating culture and on TikTok, is thought to trace back to the late 1990s TV show Ally McBeal. The ick is also used as an informal term for an illness, especially a cold or flu.

cheat code
noun. a ploy or technique that bypasses traditional methods or rules in order to improve oneself or one’s success.

📝 This more recent sense of the term is an extension of its use in the context of video games, in which it refers to a hidden command, code, etc., used to gain an advantage, such as by advancing levels or enhancing a character’s strengths.

There’s a word for that

range anxiety
noun. the apprehension or fear that an electric vehicle’s battery will run out of power before reaching one’s intended destination or a charging station.

noun. the gradual degradation of an online platform or service’s functionality, as part of a cycle in which the platform or service first offers benefits to users to attract them, then pursues more and more profits at the expense of users.

📝 Used in the critical discussion of platforms like TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and others, this term was popularized by writer Cory Doctorow.

noun. the practice of purchasing an air ticket for a flight with a layover at one’s true destination, getting off at the layover point, and skipping the last leg of the flight: a workaround to avoid paying a higher fare for a direct flight to one’s destination.

📝 The verb form is skiplag, a compound of skip, “to pass over,” and lag, “an instance of staying behind.”

bed rotting
noun. the practice of spending many hours in bed during the day, often with snacks or an electronic device, as a voluntary retreat from activity or stress.

📝 Despite the negative connotation of rotting, many use this term in a positive way to refer to what they consider a form of self-care. The verb form is bed rot.

pretty privilege
noun. an unearned and mostly unacknowledged societal advantage that a person has by fitting into the beauty standards of their culture.

📝 Pretty privilege uses the same construction as white privilege and similar terms.


Stellar Nursery. Iván Bravo. 2024.

stellar nursery
noun. Astronomy. a molecular cloud in which new stars are being formed.

📝 The James Webb Space Telescope has captured some stunning images of these star-forming regions, including the one pictured below, named 30 Doradus and nicknamed the Tarantula Nebula. Located in the neighboring galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, it is the largest and brightest stellar nursery in the Local Group, a group of galaxies near the Milky Way.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

boring billion
noun. a period in the earth's development occurring between 1,800 and 800 million years ago that is characterized by relative geological and climatic stability, slow evolutionary development, and low levels of atmospheric oxygen.

noun. a large-scale design or pattern on the surface of the land made by arranging stones, rocks, or earth, or by removing ground cover to expose the rock or soil beneath.

📝 Geoglyph is the most well-known of the terms listed here ending in -glyph, which comes from the Greek word for “a carving”; geo- means “earth.”

noun. a pattern or design originally created in sand by early humans and now fossilized. 

📝 Coined in 2019 by Canadian geologist Charles William Helm and colleagues based on the Greek ámmo(s), meaning “sand.”

noun. an image, message, or symbol carved into a tree, especially by Indigenous people and often hundreds of years old, providing cultural and historical information not available from other sources. 

📝 Coined in 1918 by Australian curator Robert Etheridge, Jr., with the combining form dendro-, meaning “tree." Its use has replaced that of the earlier term arborglyph.


noun. an aesthetic or style featuring playful pink outfits, accessories, decor, etc., celebrating and modeled on the wardrobe of the Barbie doll. 

📝 We’re likely still fully within the trend of using -core to form names for niche aesthetics, such as cottagecore and normcore.  

sustainable fashion
noun. a genre of clothing and other fashion products intended to reduce negative impacts on the environment through the use of ecologically responsible materials and manufacturing, the promotion of longer-lasting style trends, and the popularization of product reuse.

slow fashion
noun. a movement among clothing producers and consumers that emphasizes eco-friendly, well-made clothing, maintenance and repair of garments to extend their lifespan, and a general reduction of one’s consumption of new clothing items. 

📝 This term is used in contrast with fast fashion. The fast/slow framing is perhaps best known for its use in the distinction between fast food and slow food, but it will likely continue to be applied in other contexts where there is interest in sustainable practices. 

noun. of or relating to a style, design, or product that is attractive and fashionable as well as eco-friendly and sustainable.

noun. a garment in the style of a button-down shirt, made of a thicker fabric and usually worn over other shirts. 

📝 A combination of shirt and jacket.

noun. a pair of shorts with a bib or biblike piece to which shoulder straps are attached. 

📝 A combination of short(s) and overalls.


adjective. relating to a genre of mystery stories with little suspense, explicit violence, or sexual content, often also having amateur sleuths and idyllic, intimate settings. 

📝 In this context, cozy is also sometimes used as a noun to refer to such a story itself, as in I started out reading cozies and moved on to the hard-boiled detective novels.

Bechdel test
noun. a test of gender stereotyping and inequality in fiction, having a number of variations and used especially with movies, based on whether the work includes at least two fairly important female characters who talk to each other about something besides a man. 

📝 The first recorded uses of the term Bechdel test come from between 2005 and 2010, but the concept was introduced by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in a 1985 comic strip.


Tommy John surgery
noun. an operation to repair a torn ligament on the inner side of the elbow by replacing it with a tendon from elsewhere in the body or from a donor.

📝 Common among baseball players, the surgery gets its name from pitcher Tommy John, on whom the procedure was first performed in 1974. It is formally called ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.

turf toe
noun. a sprain at the joint between the metatarsus and the phalanx of the big toe, caused when the ligament connecting them under the toe is overextended: typically a sports-related injury, originally associated especially with artificial grass surfaces.


adjective. Chiefly British. (of a player) selected as part of a representative team. Example: When she plays her next match for England, she’ll become the most capped player of all time.

📝 Other newly added senses of capped include meanings related to loans, stocks, and landfills.

beer league
noun. a community sports league, such as for hockey, softball, or soccer, whose members are amateurs of diverse ages and walks of life and play purely for the fun and socializing involved: games are usually accompanied or followed by alcohol and food

Family & relationships

girl mom 

noun. a mother of a daughter or daughters, especially one with only a daughter or daughters.

girl dad
noun. a father of a daughter or daughters, especially one with only a daughter or daughters.

boy mom
noun. a mother of a son or sons, especially one with only a son or sons.

boy dad 

noun. a father of a son or sons, especially one with only a son or sons. 

📝 These proud terms are used informally to identify as a certain type of parent—you’re likely to encounter these phrases on T-shirts or as hashtags, for example. 


noun. an intense feeling of infatuation that is not romantic or sexual in nature; a platonic crush. 

📝 This term is also used in an entirely unrelated way in the context of U.S. politics as a derogatory term for a politician, especially a Republican, who is perceived by members of their own party as overly moderate or willing to compromise.

Health & wellness

sound bath
noun. an instance of sustained listening to the pleasant sounds emanating from a collection of singing bowls, bells, chimes, etc., used to aid in relaxation or meditation and believed to help restore physical and mental wellness. 

VO2 max
noun. the maximum volume (V) of oxygen (O2) that a particular person’s body can absorb and use during intense exercise, measured in milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute and often used to assess cardiorespiratory fitness.

high-intensity interval training
noun. a type of interval training for physical conditioning and fitness that uses short bursts of very intense exertion, alternating with short periods of rest or lighter exertion, to exploit the body’s systems for generating anaerobic energy.

📝 Commonly abbreviated as HIIT.

noun. an exercise or fitness program involving repeated alternation between usually 20-second bursts of strenuous exertion and 10-second periods of rest, totaling four minutes for an entire round. 

📝 Named after Japanese professor Izumi Tabata, who created the program.

keto flu
noun. a temporary feeling of illness or physical unease often experienced by those starting a ketogenic diet, characterized by fatigue, headaches, muscle soreness, etc., as the body adapts to using fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. 

📝 Also called carb flu.

micellar water
noun. a liquid skin cleanser made up of tiny particles, or micelles, of mild soap or detergent dispersed in purified water, usually with the addition of moisturizers, vitamins, etc.

noun. a substance containing dietary fiber that stimulates the growth or activity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Food & drink

noun. the roe sac of a fish, especially the gray mullet, prepared by salting, pressing, and drying, and served in various ways, including as a grated garnish, on its own with seasoning, or with vegetables. 

📝 Dining out pro tip: Use Dictionary.com as a menu companion for all those unfamiliar dish components.

noun. a colorless, clear, distilled alcoholic beverage from Korea, often made from a mixture of rice and other starches such as sweet potatoes, wheat, barley, tapioca, etc.

📝 The word soju comes from Korean, from a combination of so, “to burn, roast,” and ju, “alcoholic beverage.”


noun. Japanese cooking. a dish of fermented cooked soybeans, often eaten for breakfast over white rice or with toppings such as soy sauce and mustard.

Economics & finance

noun. a rise in prices, rents, or the like, that is not due to market pressure or any other factor organic to the economy, but is caused by corporate executives or boards of directors, property owners, etc., solely to increase profits that are already healthy or excessive. 

📝 The verb form is greedflate. Other recently added inflation words include shrinkflation and shadow inflation.

Greedflation. Iván Bravo. 2024.

dry powder
noun. cash reserves, liquid assets, or easily liquidated assets such as readily saleable stocks and bonds, held by a corporation or an individual in order to cover current or future obligations, make new purchases, or take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.

bag holder
noun. someone who retains an unprofitable investment rather than selling it at a loss, only to suffer an even worse loss when the investment eventually becomes worthless.

Climate, weather, & environment

climate breakdown
noun. the collective effects of harmful and potentially irreversible trends in climate, specifically those resulting from unchecked global warming.

global boiling
noun. a nonscientific term used to emphasize the trend toward and severity of extreme heat events, especially in regard to public health. 

📝 Climate breakdown and global boiling have emerged as terms intended to communicate the severity of the effects of climate change, along with other prominent terms like climate crisis and climate emergency.

extreme heat event
noun. Meteorology, Climatology. a heat event classified as being excessive enough to pose a serious threat to public health. 

fire whirl
noun. a tornadolike phenomenon created when turbulent air rapidly rising from the site of burning, as in a forest fire, sucks flaming gases, embers, and other fiery debris up into a twisting column, sometimes hundreds of feet in height.

fire tornado
noun. a flaming tornado generated by intense wildfire, rarer, much larger, and more destructive than a fire whirl.

noun. a combination of fog generated by weather conditions and wildfire smoke from damp, smoldering brush, leaves, trees, and other organic materials that often reduces visibility to less than 10 feet. 

carbon market
noun. a commodity trading system through which countries and organizations can buy and sell permits to produce a set amount of carbon dioxide emissions and other atmospheric pollutants. 

📝 This term is just one example of how the word carbon has become shorthand for “carbon dioxide emissions.”

Social issues

intimate partner violence
noun. acts of violence or abuse within a romantic relationship.

supervised injection site
noun. a medically supervised facility at which people can inject illicit drugs they have brought with them, a practice intended to reduce overdoses, disease transmission, and other health problems associated with illicit drug use.

food insecure
adjective. having or characterized by limited or uncertain access to adequate food. 

📝 This is an adjective version of the more established noun form, food insecurity.

energy poverty 
noun. a lack of adequate access to safe, affordable sources of electricity or fuel for warmth, light, cooking, etc.

Proper names

Even more words

noun. a large, isolated mass of red rock in central Australia, in southwestern Northern Territory: a sacred site for the Anangu people indigenous to the region, and a popular tourist attraction. 1,142 feet (348 meters) high.

📝 Also called Ayers Rock.

noun. the act or process of bringing a people, culture, nation, etc., into a global sphere of influence, especially the sphere thought of as dominated by Western countries. 

📝 The concept of worlding, influenced by literary theorist Gayatri Spivak, has become popular in academic discussions about colonialism.


noun. Informal. a resident or native of Liverpool, England. 

📝 This other nickname for Liverpudlians comes from the word Scouse, a name for the Liverpool dialect. The word Scouse itself comes from a shortening of lobscouse, a type of sailor’s stew made of meat, vegetables, and hardtack.

noun. artificial, false, or insincere behavior, speech, etc.; pretense. 

📝 More generally, fakeness is also used to mean “the quality or condition of being false, artificial, or insincere.”

kennel cough
noun. a highly contagious but usually mild respiratory infection in dogs, characterized by a dry hacking or gagging cough and caused by a number of bacteria and viruses.

noun. Informal. pimples or a rash in the area of the breasts or on the upper back, caused by a bra that chafes, is not clean, or is made of material that is allergenic or not breathable. 

📝 Other acne blend words include bacne and maskne.

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Like learning words for things you didn’t know there were words for?

fire science 
noun. the study of fire, with specific disciplines that include the composition of fire, acceleration and suppression of fire, prevention of fire, control of wildfires, and fire-related consequences of climate change.

circular fashion
noun. a type of sustainable fashion that promotes minimal manufacturing through the ongoing reuse of garments and accessories or their components.

Our newly added words and meanings span the galaxy of modern life: greedflation, fire tornado, girl dinner, climate breakdown, skiplagging, bed rotting, range anxiety, keto flu, sound bath, slow fashion, shacket, stellar nursery, superfog, and many more.

February 13, 2024