Mouse potatoes joined couch potatoes, google officially became a verb
and drama queens finally found the limelight when they crossed over from
popular culture to mainstream English language.
The mouse potato (who spends as much time on the computer as his/her
1990s counterpart did on the couch), the himbo (attractive, vacuous -- and
male) and the excessively emotional drama queen were among 100 new words
added to the 2006 update of America's best-selling dictionary, the
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.
The Internet search engine Google also found its way into the
dictionary for the first time as a verb, meaning to find information
quickly on the world wide web.
New words and phrases from the fields of science, technology, pop
culture and industry are chosen each year by Merriam-Webster's team of
editors after months of poring over books, magazines and even food labels.
"They are not tracking verbal language. They are looking for evidence
that words have become assimilated into the written English language,"
said Arthur Bicknell, senior publicist with Merriam-Webster.
"Unfortunately with slang words by the time it has become assimilated
it probably isn't cool anymore." Bicknell said.
Other words making their debut this year
were soul patch (a small growth of beard under a man's lower lip), unibrow
(two eyebrows joining together) and supersize -- the fast food industry
phrase for extra large meals.
The technology world contributed ringtones (changeable incoming
cellphone call signals) and spyware (software installed in a computer to
surreptiously track a user's activities) while biodiesel and avian
influenza came from the world of science.
America's first dictionary -- Noah Webster's A Compendious Dictionary
of the English Language -- was published 200 years ago and also introduced
a crop of fresh words that have now become familiar.
Those "new" words in 1806 included slang, surf, psychology and,