'Wiki' finally legit, says OED

Oxford English Dictionary recognises 'wiki' along with 'infobahn', 'malware', 'undelete' and 'virtualize'

Six years after Wikipedia.org debuted, editors at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) have finally deigned to add the word "wiki" to the OED's online version.

The term joined a handful of other technology-related entries added to the online OED as part of the dictionary's quarterly update. Also added: "Infobahn," "malware," "undelete" and "virtualize."

"[Wiki] joins a small but distinguished group of words which are directly or ultimately borrowings into English from Hawaiian," noted Graeme Diamond, OED's principal editor of new words, on the dictionary's site. He also laid claim to a connection between the OED and the new entry.

"It has been suggested that in some ways the OED itself resembles a wiki: its long tradition of working on collaborative principles means it has welcomed the contribution of information and quotation evidence from the public for over 150 years," Diamond said.

Although wiki has been in use since at least 1995 -- Ward Cunningham created the WikiWikiWeb that year as the first collaborative, user-edited resource -- the word was popularized by Wikipedia.org, the Internet's largest encyclopedia, founded in January 2001.

Nontechnical entries just added to the OED include "ixnay," "RICO," "ta-da" and "scooby."

The previous update in December 2006 lacked much action on the tech side -- "groupware," "superminicomputer" and "webcast" were about it -- but it did give the OED such upper-crust entries as "heinie" and "hinky."

Access to the online edition of the OED costs US$29.95 monthly, or US$295 a year, for users in North or South America.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

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