New words added to Webster's dictionary

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

A demonstration of waterboarding

Merriam–Webster announced that it has added over a hundred new words to the pages of its Collegiate Dictionary. Notable among these additions include: webisode, a television episode viewed from the web; staycation, a vacation that occurs near one's home; and vlog, a form of blog that features videos.

Two recurring themes among the new words included "government activities" and words of Arabic origin. The term "waterboarding" reflected the former theme, and was defined as "an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning".

The practice has been used on detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and its usage has drawn criticism from legal experts and human rights advocates who consider it to be a form of torture. Webster's does not include the word "torture" as part of its definition.

The latter theme was represented by such terms as shawarma, a Middle-Eastern sandwich, and Haram, which means forbidden under Islamic law.

Other additions included carbon footprint, green collar, and zip line.