We believe that developing reading and writing skills never ends, and there is always space in our brains to pick up new words.

The end of the year is often a reflective time for many, and it’s the same here at Express Proofreading, too. In this blog, we take a look at some of the new words and phrases which have been added to the dictionary this year.

Let’s see how many you are familiar with, and if you will be incorporating any of these new words into your writing any time soon!

It’s a Real Phrase?!

Well, now it is! There is quite a broad selection of phrases here, some of which started off as colloquial slang and now have pride of place in the dictionary! You may be glad to know that ‘dad joke’ has been recognised in the dictionary, but we’re pretty sure they don’t need an explanation!

How about these?


The next of the new words in the dictionary this year is ‘vacay’, which is an abbreviation of ‘vacation’. More of an American type of slang, this word has made its way into the British vocabulary through the likes of Instagram and other social media.


Another shortened version of a perfectly fine word is ‘inspo’. Admittedly, the four syllables of ‘inspiration’ is a bit much for social media, and so, it’s been shortened.

Inspo is also used as a suffix or abbreviated even more to explain people’s goals, such as ‘fitspo’, ‘food inspo’, and more. We’re sure that you will be able to find all kinds of inspo across social media with a quick search!


Although the colder months are drawing closer, the snowflake that is new to the dictionary has a different meaning.

The newest definition of a snowflake is actually a rather derogatory name for an easily offended or overly sensitive person. A snowflake tends to believe that they are entitled to special treatment, while the wider majority often doesn’t seem to agree with them.


‘We stan’ is a phrase that continues to do the rounds across the likes of Twitter, particularly among the younger generations.

What does it mean? It appears to be a combination of stalker and fan, as the definition explains that a ‘stan’ is an overzealous superfan of a celebrity.

More recently, this phrase has been trending on social media for celebrity fans who are standing up for their idols, whether they are going through tough times or unfair treatment.

Particularly Useful New Words

So, the above words could be beneficial for your informal communications, fictional writing or purely for understanding what people are saying!

The following selections are words and phrases that could actually be used by many in a variety of circumstances.


For as long as we can remember, when we haven’t known the gender of a person somebody is talking to us about, we have used ‘they’. For example, when someone says their friend is on holiday, you may respond “where are they?”.

This definition is now becoming increasingly popular for non-binary individuals who do not identify with a particular gender. ‘They’ has now been given a separate definition as the non-binary pronoun to make it easier for the affected people and those interacting with them.


Particularly useful with the release of hit film Joker a few months ago; those with coulrophobia would have known to go and watch a different film.

Coulrophobia is the extreme or abnormal fear of clowns and was added to the Merriam Webster dictionary this year.

Gig Economy

The term ‘gig economy’ was coined in 2009, but officially entered the Merriam Webster dictionary earlier this year.

It is defined as the ‘economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs, typically in the service sector’.

This term is often used in business and whenever workers’ rights are in discussion, so it’s great that the definition has been officially recognised in the dictionary.


A solopreneur is a solo entrepreneur, which seems a little confusing as most of the time, entrepreneur is how we refer to an individual.

The differentiating element of a solopreneur is that they manage all aspects of a business or enterprise without the help of a partner, whereas an entrepreneur might seek the help of partners.

Are These New Words Worthy?

From the already obvious to the fair additions to various dictionaries, it is interesting to see which words and phrases have made the cut.

Do you think you will be able to use any of these new words in your writing? The non-binary pronoun can help with showing empathy and understanding, so it can be a lesson learned as society develops. As for any ‘vacay inspo’, you might want to stick to Instagram with that!

Whether you are writing for formal or leisurely purposes, and regardless of if you incorporate new words or the classic English language, the team of professionals at Express Proofreading is here to make sure that whatever the message, it resonates properly.

Check out the different types of proofreading services we offer and obtain an instant proofreading service quote from us today. Our team can identify any spelling, punctuation, syntax and grammar issues so that the work you submit or publish depicts the right message.