Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Hashtag

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is hashtag. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

A hashtag is a word or phrase that starts with the symbol # and that categorizes or comments on the text or image it accompanies. The word hashtag can also refer to the symbol # as used in a hashtag.

// She used the hashtag #VeganEats to search social media for new recipes and restaurants she could add to her list.

HASHTAG in Context

“While attending the opening ceremony for the screening of the festival’s opening film, ‘Jeanne du Barry,’ the ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ star [Dame Helen Mirren] walked the red carpet at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, and showed off a blue hairstyle to match her blue gown. Mirren paired her look with matching earrings, a necklace and a black fan with the hashtag #WorthIt.” — Angeline Jane Bernabe, ABC News, 16 May 2023

Did You Know?

Hashtags are an everyday part of Internet culture, thanks to social media. Originally designed for categorizing posts (i.e., tagging them) on Twitter, hashtags now commonly also supplement or comment on whatever text or image they accompany. The “hash” in hashtag is short for hash mark, a term for what we also call a pound sign or, if you want to apply the word-nerdiest designation, an octothorpe. Hash in this case is probably an alteration of hatch, a term for the lines artists sometimes use to add shading to a drawing.

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