From al desko to Zika, new dictionary words define life in 2016

Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:09pm EDT
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By Barbara Goldberg

(Reuters) - New words unveiled on on Tuesday spun life's tedium into trendy terms such as athleisure, a new fashion category once known simply as wearing yoga pants all day, and al desko, or eating lunch in your office cubicle.

The 300 newly added words on, an online site that also updated 1,700 entries, are plucked from a variety of sources, including news headlines, cultural conversations and everyday slang.

The phenomenal success of mobile phone game Pokemon GO put Pokemon on the list. Popular dating apps such as Tinder helped add ghosting, the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a would-be date without any explanation.

Breaking news stories about terror attacks tied to Islamic State sparked the inclusion of Daesh - an Arabic acronym that comes from the first letters in the militant group's full name. And the international spread of a mosquito-borne disease blamed for brain abnormalities in babies put Zika virus on the list.

A handful of entries focus on gender and identity at a time when U.S. lawmakers are battling over the treatment of transgender Americans - including use of public restrooms.

New words include hijra, a person whose gender identity is neither male nor female; panromantic, meaning attracted to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; and misgender, to inaccurately describe a person's gender or gender identity.

Another entry drawn from the headlines is free-range parenting, a relaxed style of child rearing that sparked neglect charges - later dropped - against a Maryland couple who allowed their children to walk home alone from a park.

New candidates for the latest update were vetted by lexicographers searching everything from academic journals to pop-culture sources to user suggestions. Data from internet user searches also was analyzed to study interest and demand.   Continued...