By Michael Winter, USA TODAY
After apparently first landing in the late 1980s, "F-bomb" has finally left its mark in the newest edition of the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
The F-word derivative joins sexting, flexitarian, obesogenic, energy drink and life coach and 94 other new words included in the annual update, which will be published Tuesday, the Associated Press says.
Back in October 2007, a "Kimberley" from Pennsylvania submitted the F-bomb for M-W's consideration. She defined it as a euphemism for "the notorious 'F' word, especially when a person uses that word frequently or capriciously."
Here's how the 114-year-old M-W defines the euphemism for that special word, which cannot be spelled out around these parts.
Take a gander at the top 25 new words.
Keep in mind that dictionaries are not bleeding-edge linguistic lighthouses; they lag the turbocharged lingua franca du jour, blessing words only after they're splashing about in the mainstream. And M-W has lagged its competitors -- sometimes by several years -- in adding other commonly used words.
So who are the cultural bombardiers, and when did F-bombs start falling? AP writes:
Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced it back to 1988, in a Newsday story that had the now-dead Mets catcher Gary Carter talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities.
But the word didn't really take off until the late `90s, after Bobby Knight went heavy on the F-bombs during a locker room tirade.
"We saw another huge spike after Dick Cheney dropped an F-bomb in the Senate in 2004," and again in 2010 when Vice President Joe Biden did the same thing in the same place, Stamper said.
"It's a word that is very visually evocative," Stamper told AP. "It's not just the F-word. It's F-bomb. You know that it's going to cause a lot of consternation and possible damage."
One place where it recently caused some consternation was at the Iowa State Fair, according to our Gannett colleagues at TheDes Moines Register.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals took down its booth late Thursday after concessionaires and other exhibitors complained about "profane language" heard and seen in subtitles during a 13-minute video, the paper writes.
"Supposedly, the raw language used by one factory-farm worker in the undercover video footage - he drops an F-bomb while describing the difficulty of snapping turkeys' necks - proved too much for Iowans' delicate ears," PETA wrote Friday.
Earlier today, PETA said its booth and its Glass Walls video "exposing the horrific cruelty of the meat trade" -- narrated by former Beatle Paul McCartney -- returned Saturday.
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