Language purists don’t like it, but it’s a fact. Language is always evolving. Every year there are new words, and every year some of them are added to the dictionary. Modern life is complex, and sometimes we need new terms to describe new complexities. Some of those come from complicated technical jargon associated with modern marvels like artificial intelligence. Some emerge as loan words from languages other than English. And some describe new behavioral phenomena or fads. Some just qualify as new slang. The Oxford English Dictionary is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, since it’s been keeping track of words since 1857, but the most-used English dictionary in the world of 2023 is dictionary.com. Dictionary.com adds collections of new words (meaning new to the dictionary, not necessarily new in the world) up to four times a year. They’ve just released samples of their 2023 fall collection, which will include 566 entirely new entries, 348 new definitions for existing entries, and 2,256 revised definitions. Do you know what a “jawn” is? It’s like a thingamabob or a whatsit, and if you haven’t heard somebody use it in a sentence, you probably don’t live in Philadelphia. “Nepo baby” is easy to figure out. It’s a famous person who has at least one famous parent, so at least a portion of their success will always be perceived, accurately or not, as a result of industry connections. “NIL” means “name, image, likeness”, and it’s based on the new rules allowing college athletes to benefit monetarily from their success. If something happened one day at work and you can’t remember when it was because almost every day for you is exactly like the others, you can say it happened on “blursday”. This also has been known in the past as “whensday”. Here’s a term you may not have heard: “shower orange”. A shower orange is an orange that you peel and eat while you’re in the shower. Sounds pretty random, but it’s based on the idea that the steam in a hot shower enhances the orange’s citrus fragrance and creates a soothing experience for the person showering. “Godwin’s Law” is the observation that as any discussion or debate gets longer, the probably increases that someone will invoke a comparison to Hitler or the Nazi party. “Poe’s Law” states that unless the tone of a message is indicated clearly by an emoticon or other device, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a written sincerely-expressed extreme view and the written sarcastic parody of an extreme view. The reason we don’t know which facts are true and which are false anymore is due to the Internet’s “information pollution”. Hidden or secret support for fascism is now known as “crypto-fascism”. A “jugging” is a mugging that happens because the perpetrator saw you using an ATM or exiting a store with merchandise and comes from the fact that somewhere in the world, “jug” is a slang term for a bank. “Hostile architecture” describes design elements in public buildings and spaces intended to stop loitering and sleeping by making them uncomfortable. Some of the new words are best when used together. “Generative AI” is artificial intelligence that can respond to prompts with text or pictures, such as how a “chatbot” can carry on a conversation with you based on “GPT” (generative pre-trained transformer) learning. If you use experimental technology to alter your body, performance, health or mood, you are “biohacking”. We’ve used the word “optimize” for many years to mean making a machine better, faster or more efficient, but now we know that to “pessimize” it means to do just the opposite. If your brain is fried from making too many important decisions in a short period of time, you’ve got “decision fatigue”, and that may contribute to your “sleep debt”, which is the difference between how much sleep you need and how much you actually get. An “agelast” is someone who never laughs or says anything funny, and “sonder” is the feeling you get upon the realization that every single person you encounter has a real and full life in which they are the central character and you play a secondary or even insignifant role. And one more: a “paraprosdokian” is simply a sentence that ends with a twist, as in “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it”, or “if you’d like to read more about this subject, feel free to go back to the beginning of this article”. Obviously, some paraprosdokians are funny, and others don’t merit the creation of even miniscule sleep debt.