Every year, Merriam-Webster updates its Collegiate Dictionary — you know, that big book of words you referenced every once in a great while, in the era before Google — with words that, for better or worse, have become part of our lexicon. According to the Associated Press, Merriam-Webster adds about 100 such words to its dictionary annually, “gathering evidence of usage over several years in everything from media to the labels of beer bottles and boxes of frozen food.” Evidence of usage for the 2012 update apparently included catchphrases popularized by Oprah (her “aha moment” is now in the dictionary) and “words elevated by foodies” like “gastropub.” “Elevated” being a relative term, of course.
And so, we now officially have “gastropub” as a bona fide word meaning “a pub, bar or tavern that offers meals of high quality.” With all the gastropubs rolling out across the city, though, the word may connote more than it denotes, thus leading you to refer to the definition of “oversaturate.”
Other food-related additions to Merriam-Webster's dictionary: “craft beer” (“a specialty beer produced in limited quantities”); “energy drink” (“a usually carbonated beverage that typically contains caffeine and other ingredients (as taurine and ginseng) intended to increase the drinker's energy”); and “flexitarian” (a person “whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish”).
On the inclusion of “flexitarian,” an associate editor of Merriam-Webster explains, “As our society has become more aware of our eating patterns, we've seen a proliferation of its use. There are people who object to the very idea of being a flexitarian, and therefore to the existence of the word.” To which we suggest that you see also: “foodie.”
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.