New words come into the English language every day.  According to Global Language Monitor, around 5,400 new words emerge every year. However, only about 1,000 are in such widespread use that they make it into the dictionary.

It should come as no surprise that writers are behind many of these lexical innovations.  Shakespeare was a master neologist, that is, a master of new words. He was responsible for many of the new words of his time. Fast forward to today, how do new words come into our vocabulary, and how important is it that we use them regularly?

How do new words come about?

The introduction of new technology, social media and new trends brings about new words, new phrases, new slogans, and new slang.  Social media for example, is responsible for many of the new words that are now part of the English language. Similarly, new technology also plays a huge role in bringing new words into our everyday use. If you need English for work, or you work in a global environment where people speak English on a daily basis to clients and colleagues,  you need to be up to date with these new terms.

Those with teenagers at home are already ahead of the game as they are all familiar with this new vocabulary. If you don’t have teenagers at home, you need to familiarize yourself with these expressions so you understand what your coworkers, especially the younger ones,  are discussing. Otherwise, listening to their discussions can seem like listening to a completely new language.

New Words that have been introduced into the English language and are now included in an English dictionary

Here are some new informal words that should already be part of your vocabulary if you spend a lot of time online or on social media:

Selfie = to take a picture of yourself with your own camera
Unfriend = to remove someone from your social media friend list
FOMO = fear of missing out
TLDR = too long, didn’t read
LOL = laugh out loud
DM = direct message
First world problem = a trivial or minor problem of little significance
Facepalm = bringing your palm to your face in a gesture of embarrassment, disbelief or exasperation
Netiquette = the acceptable way of communicating online
Screenager = a teenager who spends a lot of time online
MOOC = massive open online course = free, easily accessible online courses

Here are some more formal words for more Business-English related discussions:
Post = the year after, post-Covid, post-lockdown, post-2020
Net Zero = achieving a balance between emissions that are produced and those that are removed from the atmosphere
In-person =  an event that is to be conducted face to face rather than on screen

Patient Zero = a term used to describe the first human infected by a disease at the beginning of an outbreak
Binge-watching = when you watch several episodes of a series one after the other
Game-changer = an event, idea, or procedure that dramatically changes the way in which something is being done at the present time 
Circuit breaker =  an automatic halt in trading on the stock market after a major decline

It goes without saying that reading the news online and listening to current events help you keep your finger on the pulse (keeps you aware of the latest events and new breakthroughs). Being able to discuss topics with global colleagues and clients using the right vocabulary will only serve to illustrate how skillful you are in English.

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