When you're smizin', it doesn't mean the whole world should smize with you


Attention denizens of the English-speaking world: Supermodel and television personality Tyra Banks would like a word.

That word: smize. Where she would like it: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Smize, a Tyra Banks original coinage, means to smile with one’s eyes. And it’s gained some traction, securing spots in several online dictionaries.

Merriam’s, however, remains a holdout. But Banks and her people aren’t relenting.

“We call them. We email them. We show them the cover of the Wall Street Journal,” Banks recently told National Public Radio.

“We show everything, all this stuff. And they’re just like ... ‘We’ve had our eye on smize for a couple of years.’ And I’m like, ‘You know what? Now you’re just hating.’”

And with that, Banks makes her second-most important contribution to the language, redefining “hating” to mean “practicing lexicography.”

Lexicography, the act of creating dictionaries, doesn’t work like the maître d’ at a fancy restaurant. Important people can’t strong-arm or cajole or smize their way to the front of the line. The process for adding new words to the language is far more democratic than that. Read how words really get into the dictionary in my recent column.


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