The folks in Cleveland at Webster's New World Dictionaries have grabbed the elastic of language in both hands and given it a good yank to include an additional definition for "wedgie."

Wedgie - "noun. A prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks" - is one of 20 new senses of existing words and 58 new words being added to the Webster's New World College Dictionary. (The new sense of wedgie joins the traditional definition of the word as a type of shoe.)


New words being added to the updated dictionary that could hit bookstores in mid-May include: blog, Botox, digital camera, chad, e-commerce, identity theft, irritable bowel syndrome, Megan's Law, paintball, sheesh, street cred, touch screen, webcast, Wi-Fi and WMD.

Editor in Chief Michael Agnes - who swears he has never been given nor administered a wedgie - said additions to the dictionary are narrowed from about 200-plus possibilities arising each year.

He said factors supporting inclusion of a new word or definition include a record of relatively broad and frequent use over at least three years.

Every 10 years the dictionary undergoes a complete overhaul that provides the chance to add 5,000 to 7,000 words, Agnes said. The last such review was in 1999.

"We generally don't find a compelling reason" to delete an old word, he added, because "we're not covering the language of the past month, we're covering the language of the past 150 years."

In the case of adding wedgie's prankish definition, the Cleveland firm is at least a decade behind one of its competitors, Merriam-Webster Inc., of Springfield, Mass.


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