Food News

The Foods Merriam-Webster Just Added to the Dictionary

September 19, 2017

Language is anything but static—it is constantly in flux, adapting itself to the whims of our speech, the predilections of contemporary vocabulary. With new ideas come new words to describe them. And Merriam-Webster, maker of dictionaries and arbiter of all things lexical, is here to document and archive these changes as they occur.

The famed dictionary producers have released their list of new words for September 2017, and the total clocks in at a shocking 250 additions. Many of the words have a culinary bent. Trends include the inclusion of a variety of East Asian ingredients, as well as the continued embrace of all things artisanal. We’ve compiled all the new things you can eat, drink or cook in the acclaimed dictionary and attached some of our recipes, in case you wanted to give Merriam-Webster the Julie and Julia treatment.

Try your hand at some homemade bibimbap, the Korean rice dish loaded with veggies and meat is now an official English word!

That famous (or infamous, take your pick) sushi roll has entered the official annals of language. The California roll, an American take on the Japanese art, contains avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab. Though we've been eating them for a while it seems they've only just made the cut.

Not quite sure what a Callery pear is—and how it's different from, say, a regular pear—but a quick consultation of its new dictionary entry reveals that it is a variety native to China, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea.

I love a cream puff, so I'm happy to see choux pastry included this year. Although their unofficial status didn't exactly stop me from eating them before.

Welcome cordon bleu to the English language! I'm glad the dictionary is recognizing our desire to stuff everything with ham and Swiss cheese...

We all know what a farmers market is. Maybe we've all been to one. Honestly, this entry seems a little behind the times. Whatever, now that a farmers market is a "real thing," brush up on some tips on how best to interact with one.

Ok, Merriam-Webster, I was getting Bar-Mitzvahed when the froyo craze peaked. Are you really just catching on?

Look who's legal! IPA, the bitter, hoppy beer we love to love. Welcome to the big leagues, buddy.

I wasn't familiar with Saigon cinnamon prior to writing this, but now my interest is most definitely piqued.

But the most famous, ubiquitous addition to this list? The spicy red paste with a look as beloved as its taste. The Thai chili sauce that spawned countless imitators. Sriracha, welcome to the dictionary. We've been waiting for you.

What food words do you want to see added to Merriam-Webster? Throw us some suggestions in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • drlbennett
  • HalfPint
  • PHIL
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


drlbennett September 24, 2017
A Callery pear isn't a food--it's a variety of ornamental pear tree, better known as a Bradford pear
HalfPint September 20, 2017
Banh Mi
PHIL September 20, 2017
IT'S in the dictionary already. BTW, I had one the other day.
PHIL September 20, 2017