3 min read

9 New English Words You Need to Know

Ekaterina, the founder of Element, a language and communication training company for tech specialists, talks about how language keeps changing and vividly reflects the world around us.

Ekaterina the founder of Element

We always say to our students, think of language as this living, breathing force that's always on the move, always picking up new words and phrases that reflect how our world shifts and changes. And here's the kicker: if you don't want to sound like you're broadcasting from a bygone era, it's absolutely essential to keep pace with these updates. Sure, it might feel like a bit of a stretch at times, but hey, that's where the growth happens.

Let's dive into some fresh words that popped up in the English language in 2023, adding color and relevance to your language learning journey.

1. Apocaloptimist

Someone who knows it's all going sideways but still believes everything will turn out okay. Apocaloptimists (uh-POCK-uhl-OP-tim-ist) are the folks stocking up on canned goods with a smile, convinced that, somehow, the future is bright.

Example: Even when her phone died in the middle of nowhere, Jane, being an apocaloptimist, just figured it was the universe's way of giving her an unplugged adventure day.

2. Bingeblur

The phenomenon of forgetting which episode you're on during a marathon session of your latest streaming obsession. In the age of endless content, bingeblur captures the confusion that sets in after hours of non-stop viewing, leaving you wondering, "Have I seen this one already?"

Example: After the fifth episode of the latest sci-fi series marathon, I hit a major bingeblur.

3. Copypasta

Data (including text) that has been copied and pasted online is known as ‘copypasta’. It can be lighthearted content that is spread for likes, or it can be a serious political message. ‘Copypasta’ was prominent in the pandemic, where people claimed it was used for misinformation around the virus and its treatment.

Example: The copypasta on Twitter is getting out of hand.

4. At (don’t ‘at’ me)

The use of ‘at’ as a verb, particularly to argue with another person on social media or disagree with someone’s opinion. ‘At’ in this context stems from the @ sign, where people tag usernames to reply to content that they have shared.

Example: The band’s second album was disappointing. Don’t at me.

5. Hybridity

The term hybridity might capture the blending of work-life environments in the post-pandemic era, including the mix of remote and in-office work models. It symbolizes the ongoing transformation in how we define workplaces and work cultures.

Example: The company totally got the whole post-pandemic vibe and jumped on the hybridity train, letting us mix it up between couch-working in pajamas and office high-fives, giving us the sweet, sweet best of both worlds!

6. Greenwash

The verb to intentionally promote something as environmentally-friendly (or less environmentally damaging) than is true – typically to gain more customers or improve sentiment toward a brand. Many organizations were accused of ‘greenwashing’ in 2022, after new laws were introduced to encourage lower carbon emissions.

Example: We’ll greenwash the public if we don’t include all operation numbers in the report.

7. ICYMI

This acronym stands for “in case you missed it.” It’s a much faster way to say the phrase and is often used in emails, texts, and even blog posts.

Example: ICYMI, Merriam-Webster has just added 370 new words to the dictionary.

8. Adorkable

The recent pandemic may have made us as a human population slightly more awkward than ever before. The internet responded by referring to people who are endearingly socially awkward as “adorkable.”

As in, “those writers are so adorkable when they hide in their corners and refuse to join the rest of the company for happy hour.”

9. Janky

This word is a variation of “junky” and is used to describe something that is not high quality.

For example, “that website is so janky,” or “I would love to join you for a 10-mile run, but I have this janky knee that keeps me on the couch in the warmth of my living room.”

Learning new words is akin to unlocking doors to new worlds, offering fresh ways to express our thoughts, emotions, and observations. For ESL students, embracing these additions not only enriches your vocabulary but also connects you to the cultural and social shifts shaping the English-speaking world. So, let's keep exploring, discovering, and enjoying the ever-evolving landscape of the English language together. Happy learning!