“Word: something that is said. A speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use.” That’s the definition of a word, according to Merriam-Webster.
The world is full of them. In fact, there are more than 258,000 words in the English language. They range from everyday words to silly words like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. While most of us can actually pronounce supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the longest word in the English dictionary is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which I’m not sure anyone can really pronounce. Want to try pronouncing Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahul? No, I didn’t just hit a bunch of keys on the keyboard, either. It’s actually the Maori name for a hill in New Zealand, and is officially the world’s longest name for a place.
These past few years, pop culture influenced which words make it into the English dictionary. Beyonce’s “Bootylicious” was added to the dictionary a few years ago, while the world of Harry Potter helped “muggle,” a person who possesses no magical powers, reserve a spot in the English dictionary as well. While pop culture has had a significant impact on the world, it looks like it has stepped aside as social media starts to influence the world even more. (more…)