Since assuming the mantle of Ms. Marvel four years ago in her Marvel Comics series, Kamala Khan has used her own word to describe her shape-shifting powers: embiggen. Primarily, her abilities come allow her to make her entire body, just or parts of it, larger, although not on the level of Giant Man. Although the word entered the lexicon in 1996 after it was used in an episode of The Simpsons, Kamala may have helped to popularize it. One might argue it’s not technically a real word — or at least, not until today, when Merriam-Webster declared it as such.
Embiggen is among 850 new words added to the dictionary, defined as a transitive verb that means to “make bigger or more expansive.” As Kamala’s use of the term might suggest, it’s characterized as both informal and humorous.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) March 5, 2018
We’re not the only ones to associate “embiggen” with Ms. Marvel, as Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account used a GIF from Disney XD’s Avengers: Secret Wars to mark the word’s addition to the dictionary.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that “embiggen” has been used outside of the comics: During the Legends of Tomorrow episode of “Crisis on Earth-X,” the Atom briefly showed off his growing powers, proudly declaring that his suit also now “embiggens.”
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