Merriam-Webster has announced that 850 words are being added to its dictionary–and among them is “embiggen,” a word that The Simpsons made up more than 20 years ago.
Writer Dan Greaney came up with the word, which was spoken by the character Jebediath Springfield in the 1996 Season 7 episode “Lisa the Iconoclast.” He says in the episode, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man,” which is Springfield’s motto. Merriam-Webster defines embiggen as “to make bigger or more expansive.”
In response to this bogus word, Mrs. Krabappel says, “Embiggens? I’ve never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.” Ms. Hoover chimes in with her own made-up word to say, “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.” However, Merriam-Webster is only recognizing “embiggen” this year, so fans of the word “cromulent” will have to wait.
Greaney, who came up with the word “embiggen,” responded to the news today on Twitter.
I will say this: If ever there was a time in which we needed a noble spirit to embiggen even the smallest man, this is it.
— Dan Greaney (@dangreaney) March 6, 2018
Merriam-Webster’s 850 new additions this year come from “a cross-section of our linguistic culture.” Other new ones this year include “cryptocurrency,” “life hack,” “hate-watch,” “dumpster fire,” and “subtweet.” You can read this blog post to see more of the newly added words.
The 29th season of The Simpsons is running now. You can watch new episodes on Sunday nights on Fox. A second Simpsons movie is being considered but no official announcements have been made.