Word of the Year 2006

As expected, there were a few surprises in store for us as we pored through your submissions for our first Word of the Year online survey. Either the vast majority of you out there in the Merriam-Webster online community are big fans of The Colbert Report, or Time Magazine was right on target when it honored the show's host Stephen Colbert earlier this year as one of the most influential people of 2006. By an overwhelming 5 to 1 majority vote, our visitors have awarded top honors to a word Colbert first introduced on "The Word" segment of his debut broadcast on Comedy Central back in October 2005. Soon after, this word was chosen as the 16th annual Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society, and defined by them as "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true."

Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2006:

1. truthiness (noun)

1 : "truth that comes from the gut, not books" (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," October 2005)

2 : "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true" (American Dialect Society, January 2006)

Click on each of the other words in the Top Ten List for their definitions in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:

  1. google
  2. decider
  3. war
  4. insurgent
  5. terrorism
  6. vendetta
  7. sectarian
  8. quagmire
  9. corruption

Word of the Year Archive