Springfield’s Merriam-Webster Takes A ‘Steampunk’ ‘Selfie’

Springfield-based Merriam-Webster is adding more than 150 words to its main dictionary, including one used quite often these days in some local museums.

Steampunk: “Science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology.”

It’s a noun and right now in Merriam-Webster’s home town, “There’s a great museum exhibit at the Springfield Museums on steampunk, on fashion and the sculpture and all kinds of great design, says Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster and – it should be noted – an occasional music host on WFCR.

Sokolowski says words are added to the dictionary once they’re used with increasing frequency year after year. Other additions to the big book: cap and trade, fracking, tweep, unfriend and selfie.

“When we see the president of the United States making news with something called a selfie, that’s clearly a word that’s going to stick with the language.

And if it doesn’t, it could be stuck in print for a while. While words are added to new versions every year, they’re only deleted when the dictionary is completely revised, about once a decade.