Word of the year goes to Stephen Colbert's 'truthiness'

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- 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.

"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.

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