Linguistics graduate student Kelly E. Wright coauthored a new journal article titled “Among the New Words" with Benjamin Zimmer of the Wall Street Journal and Charles E. Carson of Duke University Press. The article was published in the February 2021 issue of American Speech, the quarterly journal of the American Dialect Society (ADS). 

The "Among the New Words" (ATNW) section was established 80 years ago in 1941 by American linguist Dwight Bollinger. The long-running feature documents neologisms, or newly coined words or expressions, and provides a lexical history, complete with historical examples typically associated with traditional lexicography. 

This edition's "Among the New Words" section is catching up from a three-year hiatus. The section typically reports on the results of the annual Word of the Year vote, coordinated by the ADS. (The year 2020 marked the first-ever virtual voting session for Word of the Year,  which can be viewed here on YouTube.) 

As a consequence, this year’s ATNW article selected some outstanding words and phrases (and emoji!) from 2017 to 2019. For her part, Kelly wrote about the words caucacity, mood, soy boy, today years old, and zaddy

Kelly was invited to join the ATNW editing team by coauthor Ben Zimmer, chair of the ADS New Words Committee, in part because of her previous lexicographic work and also because the column is now taking a more commentary-based approach instead of one that is purely documentary:

“The editors wanted a younger woman of color to be part of this team, especially because many of our new words in the U.S. arise from minority language cultures and traditions,” explains Kelly. “I am really excited to be contributing to this quarterly column for the foreseeable future!” 

Supplemental Teaching Materials

The February 2021 ATNW column includes digital supplementary materials that host multimedia citations for use as a teaching tool. Kelly also notes that the authors have successfully advocated for this column to be open access for six months and encourage downloading!

Citation: “Among the New Word” in American Speech (2021) 96 (1): 105–123,