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College snowflakes get their favorite words added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

You’ll ‘throw shade’ and ‘face-palm’ when you read our coverage

They have taken over the halls of academia, Student Life offices and campus quads, and now they have been officially approved for the American public at large.

Merriam-Webster not only added “safe space” and “microaggression” to its flagship dictionary among 1,000 other new or modified entries this week, but specifically flagged them in a short list of notable additions.

Here’s what they mean. First, safe space:

a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations < … student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting. — Judith Shulevitz> <Women, sexual assault victims, people of color, transgender students. College campuses have created “safe spaces” for all sorts of marginalized groups. — Catherine Rampell> <

And microaggression:

a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority) <A digital photo project run by a Fordham University student about “racial microaggressions” features minority students holding up signs with comments like “Youȧre really pretty … for a dark-skin girl.” — Jinnie Spiegler> <There is a real and worthy conversation taking place in this country now, particularly among young people, around the idea of microaggressions—slight, often unintended discriminatory comments or behaviors. — Charles M. Blow>; also :  behavior or speech that is characterized by such comments or actions < … argues that the power of microaggression lies in its invisibility to the perpetrator, who typically finds it difficult to believe that he or she possesses biased attitudes. — Emily Skop>

Two verbs were added that might describe your reaction to reading our coverage of campus wackiness: throw shade and face-palm.

Oddly enough, “snowflake” still only officially means “a crystal of snow.”

Read the post on the new additions.

h/t Washington Post

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