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Podcasting has burst onto the tech scene in 2005 with an impact so great the word itself has been named “Word of the Year” by the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary.

Podcast, 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 New Oxford American Dictionary, due in early 2006.

Podcast beat out strong contenders and some you may never have heard of including:

  • bird flu (an often fatal flu virus of birds, esp. poultry, that is transmissible from them to humans, in whom it may also prove fatal)
  • ICE (an entry stored in one’s cellular phone that provides emergency contact information)
  • IDP (internally displaced person; someone forced to relocate within a country because of a natural disaster or civil unrest)
  • IED (improvised explosive device, such as a car bomb)
  • lifehack (a more efficient or effective way of completing an everyday task: “I found a great lifehack for getting a cheap hotel room.”)
  • persistent vegetative state (a condition in which a patient recovering from a coma retains reflex responses and may appear wakeful, but has no cognitive functions or other evidence of cerebral cortical activity)
  • reggaeton (a Latin American dance music which combines elements of reggae music with hip-hop and rap.)
  • rootkit (software installed on a computer by someone other than the owner, intended to conceal other programs or processes, files or system data.)
  • squick (cause immediate and thorough revulsion: “was anyone else squicked by our waiter’s piercings?”)
  • sudoku (a logic-based puzzle consisting of squares that form grids within a grid. Into each smaller grid, the numerals 1 through 9 are entered but not repeated, and they may not be repeated in any row or column of the larger grid.)
  • trans fat (fat containing trans-fatty acids, considered unhealthier than other dietary fats.)

Erin McKean, editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, said: “Podcast was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the concept. This year it’s a completely different story. The word has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon.”

 

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