“Froyo,” “IPA,” “sriracha” and more food-related terms have been made dictionary-official.

Maria Yagoda
September 18, 2017

On September 18, Merriam-Webster.com added 250 new words and definitions to the dictionary, including a slew of current food terms, some of which you may have thought were added years ago. (IPAs aren’t that trendy.)

The eleven new food words added to the dictionary are “bibimbap,” “California roll, “Callery pear,” “choux pastry,” “cordon bleu,” “cross contamination,” “farmers market,” “froyo,” “IPA,” “Saigon cinnamon” and “sriracha.” And those aren’t the only new additions this year. In February, Merriam-Webster added thirty fresh food-related words, including “acai,” “arancini,” “artisanal” and “EVOO.” (If you, too, had to look up “Callery pear,” one of today’s additions, know that you’re not alone.)

“Our job as lexicographers is to follow the development of language, defining the words people are likely to encounter,” says Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster in a statement detailing the new additions. “These new words have been added to the dictionary because they have established themselves in the English language, and are part of the current, active vocabulary of America."

So how does a word get added to the dictionary? A post on Merriam-Webster.com outlines the simple rubric by which a term is deemed worthy: “A word gets into a dictionary when it is used by many people who all agree that it means the same thing … Dictionary editors read actively, looking for changes in the language. To find vocabulary that has entered mainstream life—terms like ‘bucket list’ or ‘sexting’ or ‘unfriend,’ we look at sites and publications with wide national readership.”

A cool feature of each definition is a citation of the word’s “first known use.” Merriam-Webster says the first known use of “IPA” is 1953, while “froyo” was first uttered in 1976, long before the dessert became such a cultural fixture. 

The most surprising part of the new dictionary additions? “Pumpkin spice” and “pumpkin spice latte” have yet to be added.