Interestingly, the dictionary pegs 1934 as the first known use of fangirl, which it defines as “a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.” Merriam-Webster gave its seal of approval to fanboy in 2008.
“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, said in a statement. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification, and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”
According to The Associated Press, Merriam-Webster uses a network of observers to track down word usage; a handful of senior editors make the final decision on what gets enshrined in the dictionary.
“One of the most important things we have to watch is the trendiness of language, so we don’t want to put a word in that will then have to come out,” Sokolowski told The AP. “We want to make sure a word is here to stay.”