older person confused by merriam-webster dictionary

True Life: I'm a Millennial and I Don't Know Most of the New Words Merriam-Webster Just Added

30-somethings have aged out of using a dictionary, apparently.

I recently turned 30, which is good because I no longer care about my dwindling friend circle. But it's also bad because I'm old enough to still think updates to dictionaries are a relevant way to gauge cultural change.

So, as a — sigh — elder millennial, I felt a gut punch when I realized I do not know a lot of the words Merriam-Webster added this week. Reading the list, I envisioned schoolchildren delightedly flipping through the fresh pages of a new dictionary (was that just me?) and declaring, "Oh, 'bit rot!' About damn time."

Yes, bit rot, or "the tendency for digital information to degrade or become unusable over time," made it in, along with some others I actually use, like TBH and amirite. But being, like, really good at texting didn't ease the sting that came with encountering so many new words. So, fellow kids, come along with me as we break down the most wrinkle-inducing additions.


This does not mean that you are having a bad day. (Well, for me, it does.) It actually means "a vulnerability that is discovered and exploited by cybercriminals before it is fixed." What is the average age of cybercriminals, I wonder?

More From NBCLX

Climate Change Is Stalling the Process That Makes Leaves Change Color in the Fall

Disinformation About the Flu Shot is a Problem, Too. Let's Fix That

Blank check company

Personally, I can't hear the phrase "blank check" without thinking of the 1994 family comedy of the same name. However, this is a synonym for "special purpose acquisition company," and has nothing to do with a preteen writing $1,000,000 on a check from a stranger and the shenanigans that follow.


I saw this and was proud of myself for no longer wearing my beloved Bass flip-flops from the 2000s. But apparently it means “to prevent from having or providing a platform to communicate.”


At this point, I knew Merriam-Webster was mocking everyone born before 2000. I thought I'd learned a new exclamation for when my hangover hits day three or my back hurts for no reason, but no, it's a word for a specific type of slime inspired by Dr. Seuss. At least I've heard of him?


Sounds like another word for an earthquake to me! Of course, it's really "a unit of measure for the calculating speed of a computer equal to one trillion." Until this moment, I had never thought about the calculating speed of a computer or how one would measure it.

Excuse me while I arrange my pillows perfectly and teraflop into bed forever.