Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is one of my favorites. It provided me with invaluable help not only in getting through high school and college, but also every day that I work as a freelance writer – which is just about every single day. I still have my battered, dog-eared copy from high school with original notes in the margins, some of them useful, some of them witty, and some of them just plain illegible. But where I used my dictionary the most was when gaming. You see, early versions of CMUD didn’t have automatic spellcheck and I was not going to ruin my nerd-girl image with something as common and foul as a spelling mistake.
But as much as I love my dictionary, it’s sorely outdated. Every year new words are added that have significant evidence of usage. And who provides that evidence? That would be written sources, from the pages of books to labels on our favorite alcoholic beverages. It can’t be a single instance though. The term has to be used with regularity over a long period of time. It even includes abbreviations to an extent. For instance, their website defines OMG as “oh my God” but doesn’t have an entry for WTF, which could mean a few different things. In the popular text MUD I play, it stands for “What the foozle?” with foozle being a type of scavenger hunt game.
Here are a few gaming terms that aren’t yet in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary that would enhance the resource guide with their presence. After all, they’re found in the Urban Dictionary and we all know its level of reliability.
- pwn (verb) – Born when a WarCraft map designer misspelled “own”, the term pwn means to dominate. Any time you use owned as a synonym for dominate, you can replace it with pwn instead. An example is, “Last weekend while playing Call of Duty World at War, I found that map packs helped me to pwn the zombies.” Merriam-Webster suggests porn, prawn, prong, born, and pram as spelling suggestions on this one.
- f2p (adjective) – This term means “free-to-play” and usually refers to games that also have a paid version or a pay-for-perks option. Here’s an example, “Iron Realms produces text-based games that are f2p while offering pay-for-perks to help players achieve top rankings faster than through in-game methods alone.” Merriam-Webster not only lacks the term, but they also tried to refer me to VP, FPO, fib, fob, and flap as options. Whatever.
- arpee – (noun and a verb, depending on its usage) – Arpee is the phonetic spelling of RP, or RolePlay. I’m not talking about “teacher I’ve been naughty and need a spanking” roleplay, but the other kind where you roll stats for the persona of a neutral-good knight who battles chaotic-evil dragons and then spend your weekend typing furiously at your keyboard while trying to get to level 23. When I searched Merriam-Webster for the term, they suggested rupee, harpy, and aerobe instead. I don’t eve know what an aerobe is, but I’m guessing it has nothing to do with World of Warcraft.
- skillset – (noun) This means a collection or group of skills and abilities. An example would be, “I was going to change from druid to magi but the skillset was all jacked up and I would have lost all my SPs.” However, if you look for it in the Merriam-Webster dictionary prepared to be directed to terms such as stylistic, thickset, and sightless instead.
Now, surprisingly they did have a few terms that are related to gaming even if their definitions were a little skewed. Bot was described as the larva of a botfly, especially ones that infest horses. As a verb they define keel as being cool, and suggest that it’s more or less a noun that means a flat-bottomed, coal-carrying barge. And of course, their only description for the abbreviation ATM refers to the machine that spits out cash. But, not all hope is lost. They did add f-bomb, sexting, and man cave along with this year’s entries.
What gaming-related words would you like to see added to the dictionary besides the ones above? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!