The Word Of The Year: 'Truthiness'

Comedian Steven Colbert puts on a Harvard bow tie, and makes a joke about it being upside down, while addressing a gathering at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, Dec. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
After 12 months of naked partisanship in politics, 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 satirist and TV talk-show host Stephen Colbert, who defined it as "truth that comes from the gut, not books."

Colbert hosts "The Colbert Report," a parody of combative, conservative talk shows.

"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 people at 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 in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

"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 the first broadcast of "The Colbert Report" in October 2005.