Thursday, December 2, 2004

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More than just a trend?

A year ago, lexicographers said that blogs were hip and trendy. Now the Associated Press reports the following:

The most requested online definition this year was "blog" - a word not even yet officially in the dictionary, Merriam-Webster says.

Editors had planned to include "blog" - the short term for Web log - in the 2005 annual update of both the print and online versions of Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary, said Arthur Bicknell, spokesman for the dictionary publisher.

But in face of demand, the company quickly added an early definition to some of its online sites, defining "blog" as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer."

Typically, it takes about 20 years of usage for a word to become prominent enough to merit a place in an abridged dictionary. Some Internet terms and new diseases, such as AIDS and SARS, have made it in a fraction of that time.

"Blog" began appearing in newspapers and magazines in 1999, according to the publisher's records. Merriam's lexicographers suspect the prominence blogs attained during the presidential campaigns and conventions this year sent people scrambling for a definition.

Link via Tom Sullivan. From an international relations perspective, I'm intrigued to see that "sovereignty" came in ninth by their metric of popularity.

UPDATE: If Microsoft has its way, you will become one with the blog.

posted by Dan on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM


I wonder if anyone has devoted a study on how much blogging bandwidth has been devoted to meta-blogging. Im gonna say about 30%.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

Are there any other words that have received some form of rush to press by Merriam-Webster?

posted by: Michael on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

Michael: I'm willing to bet if there was one it would be "Metrosexual" at the request of Howard Dean... who likely still doesn't understand the word's use.

posted by: Bithead on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

When we were 9-10 yrs old, we teased the slow-witted, clumsier kids by calling them 'blogs' (and/or other forms of the word - such 'quick' wit, eh?). Never caught on at Websters then, either. But, I guess we were just ahead of our time.

posted by: wishIwuz2 on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

What puzzles me is the recent success of "defenestration", in 10th place. Why has that been dredged out of the deep trackless swamps of European History 101 all of a sudden?

posted by: Martin Adamson on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

I was wondering if Becker and Posner starting their blog (s?) meant that blogging was now officially not a New Thing.

What's next?

posted by: Barry on 12.02.04 at 12:03 PM [permalink]

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