Selfie, Hashtag, Big Data, and Yooper Added to the Dictionary

Cover of "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Di...

It’s time to spurn your English teachers because the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has just added “selfie” and 149 others to their exclusive legitimate word club. For those who live on Mars, a selfie is a picture taken on a phone of yourself by yourself. Or how the dictionary now eloquently explains: “An image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.”

The word “selfie” may seem like a recent phenomenon thanks to social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, but the word has been around since 2002. That’s basically centuries in the social media/internet timeline. So now teenage girls can defend their English papers when they use the word “selfie” in an essay analyzing Julius Caesar. But there’s no way being in the dictionary can justify this song starring selfies.


Other words added to the dictionary this year are hashtag, big data, and Yoopers.

Similar to selfie, “hashtag” is a word that came from social media, specifically Twitter. Although some grandmas would argue that the hashtag symbol is a pound sign, the social media organizational and descriptive tool is now a societal standard.

Not quite as recognizable, “big data” is a word that means “an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools.” This specifically is crucial to business professional and researchers analyzing trends in business data.

“Yoopers” is a word describing citizens of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The word comes from the shortened U.P. to describe the people that live there. Yoopers have been attempting to get into the dictionary for a long time. Congratulations, now go enjoy a pastie.

Dan Resson is a guest blogger and representative of Michigan State University’s Business Analytics graduate program. Visit their website to learn more about the program.