Merriam-Webster said it selected the new words because they've "demonstrated frequent and increasing use in a variety of sources, and are therefore likely to be encountered by a reader—and should be in the dictionary."
Here's the new batch of dictionary-authenticated health care words, along with their Merriam-Webster definitions:
- CRISPR: "A segment of genetic material found in the genomes of prokaryotes (such as some bacteria and archaea) that consists of repeated short sequences of nucleotides interspersed at regular intervals between unique sequences of nucleotides derived from the DNA of pathogens (such as viruses) which had previously infected the bacteria and that functions to protect the bacteria against future infection by the same pathogens. The CRISPR segment encodes, via transcription, short RNA sequences that pair with complementary sequences of viral DNA. The pairing is used to guide an enzyme to cleave the viral DNA and prevent further infection."
- EpiPen: "Used for a preparation of epinephrine administered by auto-injector."
- Microbiome: "A community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body."
- Prosopagnosia: "A form of visual agnosia characterized by an inability to recognize faces."
- Supercentenarian: "A person who is 110 years old or older."
- Urgent care: "Medical care provided for illnesses or injuries which require prompt attention but are typically not of such seriousness as to require the services of an [ED]."
Need to brush up on more health care terms?
With MACRA, HIPAA, the ACA, and countless others, the health care landscape has become an alphabet soup of new legislation. To help you keep up, we've created a series of cheat sheets for some of the most important—and complicated—legal landmarks.
Check them out now for everything you need to know about the Affordable Care Act, new antitrust laws, fraud and abuse prevention measures, HIPAA, MACRA, and the two-midnight rule.