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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Wiki text message
beats snail mail

I got a “wake-up call” when I checked the online edition of the AP Stylebook to see what new words were added in the past year.

“Wiki” is a word that I hadn’t seen before I discovered a “Wikipedia” on the Internet. It turns out that “wiki” means quick, and “Wikipedia” is a quick encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to online.

Quick is what a writer needs to be in these days of “iPhones,” “iPods” and “Internet Explorer.” “Snail mail” is too slow, so “text messaging” is in.

Businesses facing “bankruptcy” may “outsource” their manufacturing jobs, accumulate “frequent flier” miles and take advantage of a “hedge fund.”

A “Humvee” is not a “hybrid,” and buying gasoline for it may cause “hypertension.” And its exhaust may contribute to “global warming” unless it can run on “ethanol.”

“Allah” be praised, the “emergency room” is available for “E-coli” victims, who may want to use the F-word if “Pfizer Inc.” doesn’t have a “wiki” remedy.

“Social networking” may result when a hostess serves “nachos,” “Parmesan,” “parsley” or “rocky road ice cream” with “refried” beans.

You won’t get a “catfish” when you go “phishing,” but you may need a “proxy” server to discourage “spam.” When a new homeowner has a “jumbo” “loan,” he may want to go after his broker with an “assault rifle.” His arrest could show up on the “flat-screen TV” during the evening newscast. And the guy with an “adjustable-rate mortgage” should use “Internet Explorer” to search for better financing.

I understand why “mouse” would be a new entry, because its denotation has changed somewhat from my days on the farm when cats caught “mice.” Back then, mothers “breast-fed” babies, so everybody understood the term. Now it is new again.

You could use your “laptop” to purchase “junk bonds” online, study about “stem cell” research or read up on the latest “tsunami.”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the words in quotes are just a few of the new entries in the AP Stylebook. Terms have changed considerably since the 1975 edition we have in the office. Language has a hard time keeping up with the times. Now that the Internet makes everything instant, a word you use today may mean something entirely different by tomorrow.

“The works of His hands are faithful and just. They are steadfast for ever and ever …” Psalm 111:7-8, NIV EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise columnist and feature writer. Contact her at HYPERLINK ""

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