How Does a Word Get Into the Dictionary?

It’s not uncommon for 1,500–2,000 new words to be added to the dictionary every year—and while most additions we barely register (“cold turkey,” “meet-cute”), others (“FOMO,” “hella,” “ICYMI”) can seem less … dictionary-y. To find out just how words nab the high honor of being dictionaried, we went to the pros at Merriam-Webster. The process, it turns out, is not all that complicated.


This infographic is part of Merriam-Webster’s series on slang in the dictionary. To read the article that accompanies this piece, click here.

Need to check how you’re using new words? Try Grammarly (it’s free)

Baihley Grandison is the assistant editor of Writer’s Digest and a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @baihleyg, where she mostly tweets about writing (Team Oxford Comma!), food (HUMMUS FOR PRESIDENT, PEOPLE), and Random Conversations With Her Mother.

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