Vicarious Music & Media

Crunk Makes It Into The Dictionary

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“For the better part of two years now, Lil Jon has spent every waking moment reminding us, via shouted missives and the ginormous hunk of platinum and diamonds around his neck, that “Crunk Ain’t Dead.” Now, thanks to the wordsmiths at Merriam-Webster, his contention has been validated. Crunk, it seems, is not dead.

In fact, it’ll pretty much live on forever.

That’s because “crunk” is one of roughly 100 new additions to “Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary,” joining words like “speed dating,” “telenovela” and, yes, “ginormous” in linguistic immortality.

Officially defined as “a style of Southern rap music featuring repetitive chants and rapid dance rhythms,” crunk — and all the new additions to the dictionary (or neologisms, as etymologists call them) — was selected from a list of roughly 17 million words and phrases that have entered the public lexicon in recent years, through a process that’s both incredibly complicated and, well, pretty basic.

“There’s only one rule for a new word getting in: If it’s likely to be found in printed reading matter — magazines, newspapers, novels — it’s likely to get in,” Peter Sokolowski, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, told MTV News. “Our entire staff reads and marks everything we can get our hands on: Vibe magazine, magazines on pregnancy and sailing, math journals, physics journals, soup-can labels, menus. Basically, when a word gains a critical mass of citations, we’ll include it.”

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