'Banh mi,' 'omakase' added to Merriam-Webster dictionary

·2 min read

Asian culinary phrases “banh mi” and “omakase” were among the 370 new words added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in September.

"Banh mi refers to an iconic Vietnamese sandwich described by the dictionary as “a usually spicy sandwich in Vietnamese cuisine consisting of a split baguette filled typically with meat (such as pork or chicken) and pickled vegetables (such as carrot and daikon) and garnished with cilantro and often cucumbers.”

Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, elaborated on the inclusion of “banh mi,” explaining it has the potential to expose many people to the delicious cultural delicacy for the first time.

"Banh mi might seem so familiar to you, and there will be people who will be saying that you’d have to have been living under a rock not to know what it is, but there will be others who might encounter it for the first time on our list," Sokolowski told The Washington Post.

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"Omakase" is another term that will receive more exposure through Merriam-Webster. Derived from a Japanese phrase that translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” omakase refers to a series of small servings with a selection that the dictionary describes as being “left to the chef’s discretion.”

Some other notable terms added for September include “sus,” an abbreviation of the word “suspicious” popularized by the game “Among Us,” as well as the ironic memes it spawned; “pumpkin spice,” a unique spice mixture that has become the marquee flavor of the fall season, and “janky,” which describes objects of poor quality.


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