12 Funniest New Words Added to the Dictionary in 2020
From puggle to nothingburger, these are the silliest words that were made official this past year.
What makes a word funny?
Does the word jiggly make you giggly? You’re not alone—it’s scientifically proven that some words are funnier than others. Stunningly, there’s research on the subject too. One 2018 study from the University of Alberta set out to find the top ten funniest words in the English language (spoiler: “jiggly” is one of them) and understand why they make us laugh so much. They found that there are two major predictors of funniness in words: those related to the form of the word and those related to its meaning. Essentially, some words are actually funny and others just look silly. Of course, there are funny words being added to the English language all the time; to find the funniest words added to the dictionary this year, we combed through the new additions to Dictionary.com and the Oxford English Dictionary, each of which adds new entries on a regular basis.
You might not know what the word “sharent” means, but you definitely know a sharent. According to Dictionary.com, this word is used to describe a parent who frequently uses social media to share photos or other details about their child. It can also be used as a verb. For example, “He loves to sharent—but he should really check his Facebook privacy settings first.” The specificity of this word is what makes it so funny.
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This is a word that just sounds funny. While you might know a “puggle” as a cross between a pug and beagle, it also a baby platypus, per a new definition recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Want to challenge your vocabulary?
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Similar to a backlash, a techlash is not a good thing. According to Dictionary.com, it’s a “strong negative reaction or backlash against the largest technology companies, or their employees or products.” For example, “Facebook has experienced many techlashes over the years for a range of issues.” We just can’t get over the fact that these situations are so common there’s a specific word for them.
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Add “nothingburger” to the list of words that look and sound silly. Calling something a nothingburger is a simple way to say it’s irrelevant. According to Dictionary.com, it’s “an often highly publicized event or situation that is said to have less impact or significance than expected.” How might you use it? You could say, “that debate last night was a total nothingburger.” We suspect this word is a play on the “mouseburger,” a word coined by the late Helen Gurley Brown, the famed longtime editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, that described a bland or nondescript person.
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We love when a slang word makes it into the dictionary—and that’s totally the case with “amirite.” According to Dictionary.com, it’s an “informal variant spelling of the phrase ‘am I right’ used to elicit agreement or solidarity at the end of an observation, or used facetiously to undermine or mock the preceding observation. For example, “there’s nothing better than turning three words into one—amirite?”
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Have you ever visited a space that has some farmhouse characteristics, but that couldn’t be described as a proper farmhouse? Then “farmhousey” is the word for you. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s a space or thing that’s “resembling or reminiscent of a farmhouse or life in a farmhouse, especially in being cozy or charmingly rustic.” For example, airy colors, wooden beams, and gingham fabrics are all hallmarks of farmhousey decor.
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Participating in No-Shave November might earn you this moniker. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “beardo” is “a nickname for a person who has a beard.” It’s also “a person of a type regarded as characteristically having a beard; especially an intellectual, a hippie, a beatnik.” For example, “that guy at the bar last night was a total beardo.” The fact that such childish namecalling made into the dictionary is definitely worth a LOL.
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Kids have been using this slang term for years, but 2020 is the first time it’s been recognized as an actual word. According to Dictionary.com, the acronym stands for “greatest of all time.” It’s used to refer to or describe “a person or thing that is considered to be the best ever in a particular field, category, especially in sports.” For example, “the new iPhone is the GOAT.”
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If something really great happens and you want a silly-sounding way to call it out, you can say it’s awesomesauce. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word means, “extremely good; excellent.” For example, “the new restaurant by my house makes awesomesauce chicken wings.” Or, if someone tells you about their promotion at work, you could say: “that’s awesomesauce!”
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There are side hugs and bear hugs, and now there are man hugs. According to the Oxford English Dictionaries, these are “a friendly embrace between two men, often accompanied by a handshake, a clap on the back, etc.” For example, “I always give my buddy a man hug before he leaves.”
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Sure, the word “zoom” has been around for a while, but not in the context of online video chats. In 2020, the verb was added to the dictionary. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is an intransitive and transitive verb that means “to communicate with (a person or group of people) over the internet, typically by video-chatting, using the Zoom application.” Many of us are now familiar with the word. For example, you’ve probably uttered the phrase “zooming with my coworkers is so frustrating” more than a few times in the past year.
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This is another word we’d argue just looks funny. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means “Employing or characterized by shticks or gimmicks, especially to an excessive degree; gimmicky, contrived.” For example, you could say the newest TV show is “super shticky.”
- Science Daily: “Wriggly, giggle, puffball: What makes some words funny?”
Next, can you answer these real Jeopardy! questions about words?