The editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary have selected “podcast” as the Word of the Year for 2005. The word beat out such runners-up as “bird flu” and “IED” (improvised explosive device).
Other tech-related runners-up included “ICE” (an entry stored in one’s cellular phone that provides emergency contact information), “lifehack” (a more efficient or effective way of completing an everyday task), and “rootkit” (software installed on a computer by someone other than the owner, intended to conceal other programs or processes, files or system data.)
Podcast, which is to be defined as “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player,” will be added to the next online update of the dictionary, due in early 2006.
The word was chosen based on its phenomenal rapid growth in 2005, which saw it grow from relative obscurity to one of the hottest trends in media. Erin McKean, the dictionary’s editor-in-chief, noted that the word was considered for inclusion in the dictionary last year, but ultimately rejected as it was not in wide-enough usage.
“This year it’s a completely different story,” McKean said in a statement. “The word has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon.”
[By Mathew Honan]