F-Bomb in Dictionary After a Decade of Slip Ups: Rob Pattinson and Joe Biden Among Many

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By Brittney R. Villalva, Christian Post Reporter
August 14, 2012|10:32 am

Merriam Webster has announced new words to be added to the 114-year-old dictionary, some of which include "f-bomb" and "sexting."

It may seem strange to some that the word f-bomb, which is not really even a word, should be able to find a home in the dictionary. In context, though, the new word shows an interesting cultural reflection.

The words sexting, flexitarian, obesogenic, energy drink and life coach have all also made the list for a new version update which comes about every decade for the print version of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate. The update includes about 100 new additions, some of which are chosen by "word-spies." The expression f-bomb first fell under radar in 1988 according to the Associated Press.

"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," the news source reported.

The word usage, however, did not pick up until the 1990s, due in part to Bobby Knight who dropped a series of 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 told AP.

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A number of people in the limelight have accidentally dropped the f-bomb on a crowd of one too many. Robert Pattinson slipped up last year during the MTV Movie Awards. This year, LA Kings captain Dustin Brown slipped up on an NBC interview and Fox contributor Bob Beckel also did while live on "Hannity."

"It's a word that is very visually evocative. 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," Stamper said.

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