Ms. Marvel's catchphrase 'embiggen' is now a word in the dictionary

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Mar 5, 2018

Since her debut in 2013, Kamala Khan — aka Ms. Marvel — has been an inspirational figure in many respects. As a young Muslim character, she's encouraged further diversity among comics creators and readers, and developed a loyal legion of fans eager to celebrate her exploits.

She's proven so popular that her reach has already expanded beyond the comics page and into the realm of television thanks to Disney XD's ongoing Avengers animated series, and it's hard to imagine a world in which a live-action Kamala doesn't one day appear. 

Now, Kamala Khan has also helped to inspire something few other Marvel superheroes have ever hoped to: An entry in the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster announced Monday morning that it's added some 850 new words to its dictionary, expanding an already vast resource. Among those words: "Embiggen," Kamala's first catchphrase, which she used in early Ms. Marvel issues when she did things like morph her fists into boulder-sized clubs. According to the official Merriam-Webster entry, the word actually dates back to 1996, well before Kamala emerged on the scene, but in announcing its addition to the dictionary, they also made it clear that she helped inspire the entry.

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So, Kamala Khan is now a trendsetter for comic storytelling and dictionary entries. She may not have invented the word, but she definitely boosted its fanbase.