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Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and ICO Earn a Spot in Merriam Webster Dictionary

  • 2 April 2018
  • Cas Proffitt

Cryptocurrency, blockchain, and initial coin offering have been added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s list of definitions.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates back to the 1800’s after George and Charles Merriam secured rights to an English dictionary from Noah Webster’s estate which he had first published in 1806. Since, many revisions have been made in order to keep the text up to date with changes to the modern lexicon. Today, their website touts hundreds of thousands of words and their definitions, making it a reliable and trusted source for English writers and speakers. The only way for a word to make it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary is via widespread usage.

Merriam-Webster has been known to add interesting entries related to modern culture over the years. Some of the more standout words include muggle, meatspace, and dumpster fire.

Now, cryptocurrency and some of its related concepts have been discussed enough that they’re gaining a new level of legitimacy via addition to the pages of this elite dictionary.

Which Crypto Terms Made the Cut? How are they defined?

Three of the most prominent cryptocurrency terms Merriam-Webster has opted to define are blockchain, initial coin offering, and cryptocurrency itself.


A digital database containing information (such as records of financial transactions) that can be simultaneously used and shared within a large decentralized, publicly accessible network; also : the technology used to create such a database

Initial Coin Offering

The first sale of a cryptocurrency to the public conducted for the purpose of raising funds (as to support a start-up)


Any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions

These terms fall in a group of 850 word additions for March 2018 as announced by Merriam-Webster. Other notable entries that are relevant to the crypto and finance world include: unicorn, a startup valued at greater than $1 billion; microfinance, which refers to financial services often offered in poor or developing regions, particularly in the form of microloans; and microcredit, a similar concept which means credit in the form of microloans.

Which cryptocurrency and blockchain words do you think will make it into the pages of the dictionary next? Let us know in the comments below!

About Cas Proffitt

Cas is a B2B Content Marketer and Brand Consultant who specializes in disruptive technology. She covers topics like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and big data, to name a few. Cas is also co-owner of an esports organization and spends much of her time teaching gamers how to make a living doing what they love while bringing positivity to the gaming community.