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English, updated

Mouse potatoes, drama queens and google (as a verb) crossed over from pop culture into mainstream English.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 13:18 IST

By Jill Serjeant

Mouse potatoes joined couch potatoes, google officially became a verb and drama queens finally found the limelight on Thursday when they crossed over from popular culture into 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. 

 
America's first dictionary - Noah Webster's A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language - was published 200 years ago

"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. If the grown-ups are using it, forget it!", 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, naturally, Americanize.