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Truthiness

truthiness_dictionary_page_cr.jpgWhen Merriam-Webster announced that voters in their first Word-of-the-Year online survey had chosen 'truthiness'--a Colbert Report staple, fans of words and wordplay may have experienced a slight feeling of deja vu. Last January, the American Dialect Society named 'truthiness'--according to Stephen Colbert, "truth that comes from the gut, not books"--their society's 2005 word of the year.

I've been a fan of the American Dialect Society's end-of-the-year selections for quite awhile, because they include winners in categories like "most likely to succeed" (2005 selection: sudoku) and "most creative" (2004 selection: pajamahadeen, meaning bloggers who fact check and challenge traditional media). The American Dialect Society will choose their 2006 word of the year on January 5, and you can find their other selections, going back to 1990, as well as an email address to which you can send your own nominations, here.

Those following along at home can also check page 723 of their 2007 World Almanac to see what words Merriam-Webster added to the dictionary in 2006. Notable among them: google (v.). And Benjamin Zimmer notes, on UPenn's Language Log site, that the Oxford English Dictionary has included 'truthiness' since 1915, though the OED definition is slightly different from Colbert's.

Merriam-Webster's 2006 Word-of-the-Year
American Dialect Society Words of the Year Announcement
UPenn's Language Log: "One Way to Get a Word in the Dictionary"

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