Merriam Webster Adds New Word to Dictionary Using Marvel Hero as an Example

Merriam-Webster added some new words to the dictionary this week and when it came to explaining one of them, the referred to Ms Marvel Kamala Khan.

The publisher added 850 new words, the Greek yogurt sauce tzatziki, the popular term for disaster "dumpster fire," and "mansplain" in addition to the term "embiggen." In a tweet announcing the addition of "embiggen," Merriam-Webster shared a GIF of G. Willow Wilson's Ms Marvel. The tweet also contained the motto of The Simpsons' fictional hometown of Springfield. Check it out below.

"A noble spirit embiggins the smallest man," the tweet read. "Also, 'embiggen' is now a word we enter."

As comic book fans are aware, "embiggen" is a term that has been popularized largely in part by Wilson's Ms Marvel. In comics Kamala uses the word to describe the transformation she undergoes by way of her Inhuman powers. For those who haven't been following Wilson's Ms Marvel (and if you're not, you should check it out) Jersey City teenager Kamala Khan was exposed to Terrigen Mists which gave her the ability to expand, stretch and compress her body into different shapes and sizes, including making herself larger. This makes Kamala the perfect representative of the term that Merriam-Webster defines as to "make bigger or more expansive." However, while it was awesome to see Ms Marvel get a shout out for being part of the creation of a whole new word, some were quick to point out the aforementioned Simpsons reference in Merriam-Webster's tweet.

While Ms Marvel popularized the word, it was created by The Simpsons. The word first appears in the 1996 episode "Lisa the Iconoclast" and is attributed to the town's founder Jebediah Simpson. It made its debut along with another word, "cromulent," specially created for The Simpsons with the intent that they would sound like real words but have no clear definition. While "cromulent" remains outside Merriam-Webster's dictionary, "embiggen" is now officially part of the English language.

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And even though Wilson shares the credit for creating the word, she's still excited to see it enter the dictionary.

"I can't claim to have invented the word 'embiggen,' but I'm thrilled to have been a vector for its current popularity," Wilson told Marvel. "I can remember the exact moment it first slipped out when I was attempting to describe the way I envisioned Kamala Khan's powers to Sana [Amanat, co-creator and series editor on Ms Marvel]. It was such a convenient, cheerful little verb. From that day on, it made its way into every single Ms Marvel script."