The latest Merriam-Webster's dictionary update has ruffled a few feathers online. Not for the inclusion of Manga (noun: a Japanese comic book or graphic novel) nor ringtone (noun: the sound made by a cell phone to signal an incoming call) or even supersize (transitive verb: to increase considerably the size, amount, or extent of.)
Could it possibly be mouse potato (noun: a person who spends a great deal of time using a computer) or himbo (noun: and attractive but vacuous man?). Nope, then surely unibrow (noun: a single continuous brow resulting from the growing together of eyebrows) or even soul patch (noun: a small growth of beard under a man's lower lip) must be the cause?
Heck, even spyware (noun: software that is installed in a computer without the user's knowledge and transmits information about the user's computer activities over the Internet) and avian influenza (noun: a highly variable mild to fulminant influenza of birds that is caused by strains of the influenza A virus which may mutate and be transmitted to other vertebrates -- called also bird flu) hasn’t got anyone slightly excited.
Of the 100 new words that have been added to the 2006 update of America’s first and best-selling dictionary, the one that’s attracting all the online attention is google (verb: to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.)
It remains to be seen whether Google will behave like a drama queen (noun: a person given to often excessively emotional performances or reactions) considering it has frowned on people using google as a verb in print. Indeed, as is often the way with brands protecting their trademarks, Google has positively discouraged such usage. Well now they can’t because it’s official. So can I just say that I google every day and often advise others to go google. As an Englishman I must point out that our very own Oxford English Dictionary made the Google (upper case though) verb inclusion last month with a very similar definition.
Google does have something of a genuine concern, in as far as the inclusion of google as a verb does push it ever closer to becoming part of the general lexicon, and that would mean exclusion from legal protection for the trademark. The fact that Merriam-Webster's chose a lower case google, rather than the upper case OED usage, will ease the concern a tad. But perhaps the days when you can go google at Yahoo! are closer than we might think?