Americans love to think up inventive new words and phrases to describe their favorite things, especially when it comes to food. And while not all of those terms end up catching on, some have become so popular and universally recognized that Merriam-Webster—the most prominent publisher of dictionaries—just gave them the official stamp of approval.

Merriam-Webster announced this week that it has expanded its dictionary with a whopping 690 new words and definitions. The publisher also released a select sample of the new additions, including several major food-related terms that didn’t have the honor of being recognized by Merriam-Webster before now.

One of the most notable new terms is “smashburger,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a hamburger patty that is pressed thin onto a heated pan or griddle at the start of cooking.” When done right, this cooking method creates a crispy brown crust encasing juicy, perfectly cooked beef. A range of different major fast-food chains serve these types of burgers, including Freddy’s, Steak n’ Shake, and, of course, Smashburger.

RELATED: 7 Restaurant Chains That Make the Best Smash Burgers

On a different note, some of the new words are heavily associated with food, but can also be applied in a wide range of different contexts. “Chef’s kiss,” for example, is another exciting addition to the standard English language. The publisher defines the term as “a gesture of satisfaction or approval made by kissing the fingertips of one hand and then spreading the fingers with an outward motion.” People can use this gesture to show their appreciation for food, of course, as well as anything else that strikes their fancy.

Chef's kiss gestureChef's kiss gesture
Oksana Shufrych / Getty Images

Similarly, Merriam-Webster just added a new slang term, “bussin’,” that can be used to describe anything that’s “extremely good” or “excellent.” However, the definition notes that the term is used especially to point out when something is “delicious” or “tasty.”

“Those McDonald’s fries do be bussin’, though,” was an example sentence that Merriam-Webster provided for the term.

Here are six other food-related terms and definitions just announced by Merriam-Webster:

  • zhuzh (noun): a small improvement, adjustment, or addition that completes the overall look, taste, etc. of something; (verb): to improve in flavor or appearance by way of a small improvement, adjustment, or addition — often used with up
  • stagiaire (noun): a usually unpaid intern working in a professional kitchen as part of their training to become a chef
  • stage (noun): a usually unpaid internship in a professional kitchen that is part of a chef’s training
  • cheffy (adjective): characteristic of or befitting a professional chef (as in showiness, complexity, or exoticness)
  • emping (noun): a slightly bitter cracker or chip popular in Indonesia that is made from the dried flattened seed of a melinjo tree (Gnetum gnemon)
  • jollof rice (noun): a West African dish of rice cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and onions seasoned usually with garlic, thyme, hot pepper, and other spices and often accompanied by meat, fish, or vegetables

RELATED: 6 Hottest New Food Trends You’ll Be Seeing Everywhere This Year

Because Merriam-Webster didn’t list all of the 690 new words and definitions in the announcement, there may be even more newly added food terms that fans can discover in the publisher’s catalog.

“We’re very excited by this new batch of words,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement. “We hope there is as much insight and satisfaction in reading them as we got from defining them.”

Zoe Strozewski

Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe



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