“There is no advice,” he added, and the currency of a word is not necessarily a function of novelty. “We see to see, is the use of this word growing or falling? If the word grows – even slowly, even slowly, like fluffernutter – then it belongs in the dictionary.”
He added: “Every word has its own pace.”
The “proof of first use” for fluff nut occurred in The Daily Freeman newspaper in Kingston, NY, on Nov. 20, 1961, Mr. Sokolowski said. But over the years, the word remained mostly spoken and rarely printed, so it lacked the criteria for inclusion in the dictionary.
In 2006, a political kerfuffle began to change that. A Massachusetts state senator, conveying that his son wanted Fluff after eating a fluff nut at school, tried to limit how many times a school could serve the sandwiches each week, as part of a bill to improve nutrition. (The New York Times reported at the time that fluff eaters adhere to dietary guidelines in their son’s school district; Fluff has less sugar per serving – six grams per two tablespoons – than many jellies.)
In response, Ms. Reinstein submitted legislation to make the fluff nut the state sandwich. She recalled calling voters, “Fight for Fluff! Fight for Fluff!”
Both the senator and Ms. Reinstein’s efforts vanished, but Mr. Sokolowski said the resulting national media coverage helped put the word on a trajectory to eventually contribute to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster chose “fluffernutter” – one word, lowercase – because publications usually style the term in this way, although the entry offers a capitalization variant, Mr. Sokolowski said.
“It’s very cool, there’s no doubt about it,” said Mr. Durkee, whose company makes Marshmallow Fluff. “We were out walking the dog, and I saw a number of neighbors and friends on the walk. And they all say, ‘Hey, we’ve seen the news about the dictionary!'”
New Englanders also once again look at another key fluffernutter element.
Mimi Graney founded the Fluff Festival and documented the history of the ingredient in her book “Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon.”