By Tim Binnall
In a development which may spawn celebrations in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the waters of Loch Ness, the iconic Merriam-Webster dictionary has officially added 'cryptid' to its catalog of words. According to the editors of the reference book which was first published in 1828, the addition is part of a massive update featuring a whopping 640 new entries that include scientific terms like 'Qubit,' pop culture references such as 'bottle episode,' and modern slang like 'stan.'
For the record and at the risk of sounding like the opening line of a future high school student's science paper, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines 'cryptid' as "an animal (such as Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster) that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." It notes that the word was first used in this context back in 1983. As to why it took so long for the term to arrive in the dictionary, the editors explained that their process involves following the usage of a word from "specialized contexts to more general use" until it ultimately arrives at a point where it is part of the common vernacular and, as such, worthy of being in the dictionary.
To that end, the official recognition of 'cryptid' could be seen as something of a culmination of cryptozoology's meteoric rise within the zeitgeist over the last few years. From towns and cities adopting Bigfoot as their 'official animal' to states adding their resident sea monster to license plates, the mysterious creatures that had long lurked in the shadows of local legend are clearly now having their moment in the sun. Now if only we could capture one of them...