After 12 months of naked partisanship on Capitol Hill, on cable TV and in the blogosphere, the word of the year for 2006 is … “truthiness.”
The word – if one can call it that – best summed up 2006, according to an online survey by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster.
“Truthiness” was credited to Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, who defined it as “truth that comes from the gut, not books.”
“We’re at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people’s minds, and truth has become up for grabs,” said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. “`Truthiness’ is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue.” Other Top 10 finishers included “war,” “insurgent,” “sectarian” and “corruption.” But “truthiness” won 5-to-1, Morse said.
Colbert, who once derided the folks at Springfield-based Merriam-Webster as the “word police” and a bunch of “wordinistas,” was pleased.
“Though I’m no fan of reference books and their fact-based agendas, I am a fan of anyone who chooses to honor me,” he said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
“And what an honor,” he said. “Truthiness now joins the lexicographical pantheon with words like `squash,’ `merry,’ `crumpet,’ `the,’ `xylophone,’ `circuitous,’ `others’ and others.”
Colbert first uttered “truthiness” during an October 2005 broadcast of “The Colbert Report,” his parody of combative, conservative talk shows.