‘Air Fryer’ Makes It Into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The appliance has proven itself to be more than a fad.

October 27, 2021


Photo by: Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins/Getty

Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins/Getty

How did you pass your time during shelter-in-place orders in the midst of the pandemic? Did you spend more time cooking at home, maybe utilizing your new air fryer or trying your hand at baking? Or maybe did you try ordering curbside takeout or delivery from a ghost kitchen?

If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. In fact, air fryers, curbside takeout and ghost kitchens became such staple parts of our culture during the pandemic that they are among over 450 words added to Merriam Webster’s latest dictionary update. Other new food-related words added include dine-in, baking chocolate and everything (as in the seasoning!).

This update to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary includes 455 new words and phrases, and many have to do with how we live, work – digital nomads and vaccine passports also get a dictionary nod – and eat. For those who are unfamiliar, ghost kitchens are virtual restaurants, where the food is prepared in satellite kitchens (but aren’t necessarily “open” for customers to dine in or grab takeout from), and they rose to popularity quickly during the pandemic. Other fun food-related additions include the fluffernutter, which is a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich (we’re surprised this one wasn’t already in there!), and the air fryer, an appliance which has, in the past few years, become a kitchen counter mainstay thanks to its promise of cooking lighter spins on fried food quickly and easily.

As cooking at home and contactless takeout were undeniable hallmarks of the pandemic, it’s not surprising to see them absorbed into widespread vocabulary and taking their permanent place in the dictionary. Perhaps indeed ghost kitchens and air fryers are here to stay. But it’s all very intriguing. What will this year hold, and what new words and phrases may we see entered into the dictionary next year?

Time will tell!

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