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Merriam-Webster adds ‘Yoopers’ to dictionary

In this May 15, 2014 photo, “Yooper,” one of the 150 new words appearing in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the company's free online database appears on page 1454 of the printed edition of the dictionary in New York. The term refers to native or longtime residents of the Michigan’s Lake Superior region known for a distinctive manner of speaking and its Scandinavian roots. Many of the other new words and terms stem from digital life and social media; spoiler alert; hashtag; selfie and tweep, while others are food driven, including pho and turducken, a boneless chicken stuffed with a boneless duck stuffed with a boneless turkey. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In this May 15, 2014 photo, “Yooper,” one of the 150 new words appearing in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the company's free online database appears on page 1454 of the printed edition of the dictionary in New York. The term refers to native or longtime residents of the Michigan’s Lake Superior region known for a distinctive manner of speaking and its Scandinavian roots. Many of the other new words and terms stem from digital life and social media; spoiler alert; hashtag; selfie and tweep, while others are food driven, including pho and turducken, a boneless chicken stuffed with a boneless duck stuffed with a boneless turkey. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — Da “Yoopers” up dere in da U.P., Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, have hit it big with inclusion of their nickname in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and the company’s free online database.

The moniker for native or longtime residents of the Lake Superior region known for a distinctive manner of speaking and its Scandinavian roots was among about 150 new words announced Monday by the Springfield, Mass., company.

But really? Is Yooper as recognizable as, say, the Yankees of New England? Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer and editor at large for Merriam-Webster, insists it has crossed from regional to more general usage.

“Plus, it’s just a really colorful word,” he said.

Many of the other new words and terms stem from digital life and social media — spoiler alert, hashtag, selfie and tweep — while others are food-driven, including pho and turducken, a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey.

Climate change and the environment did not go unnoticed, with the addition of cap-and-trade. Fracking also made it into the update, which has already shipped to retailers. So did e-waste and freegan, one who scavenges for free food in store and restaurant trash bins as a way to reduce consumption of resources.

Other new words in the popular dictionary and at Merriam-webster.com:

Catfish (not the fish but the person who takes on a false online identity, a la the phantom girlfriend of football pro Manti Te’o); poutine, a French-Canadian snack of french fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds; steampunk, a literary genre with dress-up followers that mashes up 19th-century societies with steam-powered technology; unfriend, which joins defriend; and hot spot, a place where Wi-Fi is available.

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