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The Simpsons writers are uncannily good at predicting events that have happened years after poking fun at them, but who would've thought they'd set events in motion years ago that would lead to a word being added to the dictionary? Merriam-Webster just added 850 words to its dictionary, and fans of the series will be thrilled to hear that a word made famous on the show has made the list. Get ready to work "embiggen" into all official emails and conversations from this point forward as the word is officially a part of the English dictionary.
Merriam Webster lists the official definition for "embiggen" as "to make bigger or more expansive." While the dictionary missed a golden opportunity to utilize the iconic quote from Jebediah Springfield in the sentence examples for the word, it does appear that The Simpsons will get credit for popularizing and getting the word added. The Merriam-Webster website noted the first use of "embiggen" happened in 1996 which is the same year the episode "Lisa The Iconoclast" first used the word:
The word, which is attributed to Jebediah Springfield on The Simpsons, is also featured on the town's statue of the founder in some episodes and reads "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." Though it looks like The Simpsons will get most of the credit for the word, the former slang term has an origin that is beyond the show's alleged coining of the term. Years after the episode aired, it was discovered that a man named C.A. Ward used embiggen in a note back in 1884. Hilariously enough, Ward's use of the word came in the midst of a rant about slang terms and how they shouldn't be added to the dictionary. The rant is awesomely ironic given the current subject matter, no?
"Embiggens" making it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary is awesome for fans of The Simpsons, but things could be better. Unfortunately, it looks as though "cromulent" will have to wait until next year for its chance at inclusion in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as it was not one of the numerous words included to the dictionary this year. While "cromulent" has yet to make its way into that publication, it has been recognized as a word on both Dictionary.com and The Dictionary of American Slang, so perhaps there's hope for it yet.
The Simpsons airs on Fox Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET and frequently on FXX. For more some television shows airing in 2018, head on over to our midseason premiere guide. For more on The Simpsons, check out which member of the Springfield community will soon have his previously unseen family grace the series. For an oddly specific thing The Simpsons writers predicted would happen that no one saw coming, click here.