‘Oat Milk,’ ‘Plant-Based’ Among New Words Added to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for 2022

The canonical English language reference has dropped this year's official inductees – including a few we're very familiar with

Photo: Spauln / Getty Images

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Language is constantly evolving as people find ways to talk about the world around them – and dictionaries do their best to keep up, chronicling the words that crossover from casual slang to permanent fixtures in our vocabulary. Merriam-Webster just dropped their list of new words for 2022 and we noticed a few we’re particularly familiar with.

Words about food is a staple for dictionary inductees, since clever cooks are always creating new dishes or adopting non-English-language words for foods into commonplace English parlance. Horchata and air fryer were in the previous batch of new words added to Merriam-Webster’s big book, back in October 2021.

This year’s new words have a particularly veggie-friendly tone – not surprising given the increase in plant-based eating in the English-speaking world. One Cornell University survey conducted in 2022 found 1 in 10 Americans now say they do not eat meat, a historically high number.

In fact, plant-based itself is now a dictionary word. Along with it, oat milk, pumpkin spice, raw el hanout, and others.

Plenty of non-food-related words are now presumably fair for your next game of Scrabble too, including subvariant (as in, of a virus), hoglet (a baby hedgehog), and janky (describing something of poor quality).

Find the complete list of new words for 2022 in this announcement from Merriam-Webster.


RELATED: Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Back at Starbucks. They’re Still Not Vegan, So We Found Some Alternatives.

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