Two Digital Tech Terms Finally Make It Into Dictionary | Ethereum Disagrees With Classification

1 min read

Why do we tend to think that when a term makes it into the Miriam-Webster dictionary, it’s not official? Who knows. But that’s exactly what’s happened to “altcoin” and “metaverse”.

Dictionary Additions

According to Merriam-Webster, the two words are among 370 new official additions to the dictionary this month.

The additions signal the growing popularity and adoption of these evolving technologies.

“When many people use a word in the same way, over a long enough period of time, that word becomes eligible for inclusion.”

Merriam-Webster’s new entry of “altcoin” says the term was first used in 2011 and was developed by adding “alt-“ to Bitcoin (BTC). The definition follows.

“Any of various cryptocurrencies that are regarded as alternatives to established cryptocurrencies and especially to Bitcoin.”

While altcoin falls under a category of added words for new ways to invest, sell products or use and not use banks, the term metaverse, a space where altcoin projects are advancing, falls under the category of added words related to the virtual world.

The entry says metaverse, first used in 1992, is derived from the prefix meta-, which means in Greek “among, with, after,” and universe. The two definitions follow.

“1. computing: a persistent virtual (see virtual sense 2) environment that allows access to and interoperability of multiple individual virtual realities.
2. cosmology: the hypothetical combination of all co-existing or sequentially existing universes.”

This isn’t the dictionary’s first foray into the world of crypto. In 2018, Merriam-Webster added the terms “blockchain,” “Bitcoin” and “initial coin offerings.”

Ethereum Not Pleased

The publisher defined “altcoin” as any of the now roughly 20,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation “that are regarded as alternatives to established cryptocurrencies and especially to Bitcoin.”

This definition may come as a disappointment to Ethereans, who have argued for years that Ethereum—alongside Bitcoin—is no longer an altcoin. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap also leads the crypto community in developer activity, fee volume, decentralized finance, and other metrics.

 Featured Image: Shutterstock/Mia Stendal

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