Chef's kiss: Merriam-Webster adds new words describing food and how it is made to the dictionary

From "cheffy" to Martha Stewart's "thirst traps," let's unpack some of the food-adjacent terms

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published October 4, 2023 5:44PM (EDT)

Looking up a word in the dictionary (Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill)
Looking up a word in the dictionary (Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill)

In case you missed it, Merriam-Webster recently added 690 new words and definitions to its stalwart dictionary.

While the new additions range from "cromulent" and "UAP" — here's a helpful guide for the latter — to "beast mode" and "generative AI," the food-adjacent terms include "cheffy" and "chef's kiss."

Merriam-Webster defines cheffy as "characteristic of or befitting a professional chef (as in showiness, complexity or exoticness)," while the entry for chef's kiss reads "a gesture of satisfaction or approval made by kissing the fingertips of one hand and then spreading the fingers with an outward motion — often used interjectionally."

Some of the other terms related to food and how it is made are "emping," a slightly bitter cracker or chip popular in Indonesia; "jollof rice," the storied West African dish; "smashburger" and "zhuzh."

Stagiaire means "a usually unpaid intern working in a professional kitchen as part of their training to become a chef." "Stage," pronounced with a soft G sound, refers to the internship itself.

There's also "thirst trap," defined as "a photograph (such as a selfie) or video shared for the purpose of attracting attention or desire." Though you may not think thirst traps necessarily go hand in hand with how we talk about food, we can all agree that lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has made her impact on the genre.

"We're very excited by this new batch of words," Peter Sokolowski, editor at large of Merriam-Webster, said. "We hope there is as much insight and satisfaction in reading them as we got from defining them."

Click here to discover the remaining 677 entries that now call the dictionary home.

MORE FROM Michael La Corte