While the definition of dumpster fire can vary, on a deep level, we all know what it is. It’s pretty self-explanatory in it’s words. But if you don’t know, a dumpster fire is an awful and disastrous situation, like when you, well, set a dumpster on fire (but don’t really).
The very hip Merriam-Webster decided to add this phrase along with 850 other words into their dictionary, solidifying their long-term value. NPR reports that Merriam-Webster isn’t trying to emulate Urban Dictionary, which is, for many, a respectable and ample source of information.
MW explains that their goal isn’t to focus on changes in informal language that take place on a day to day basis. The words that they record are the ones that will still have posterity and important value in the future.
According to them:
We are really interested in the terms that are here to stay, that we are very unlikely to ever take away from the dictionary.
The fact that “dumpster fire” is a word that’s considered important for our future is kind of a dumpster-fire in itself, but whatever.
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Other words that were added to the dictionary include: mansplain, hate-watch, embiggen, welp, and self-care. Merriam-Webster’s official definition of dumpster fire (noun, US informal) is when “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence: disaster.” Thank you, dictionary, that’s a very fancy way of putting it.