“Super PAC” Makes It Into the Dictionary

It finally happened: The term “Super PAC” will be added to the dictionary. Politico reports that the term is expected to appear in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. The publication also talked to the woman responsible for the coinage:

/Shutterstockanaken2012/Shutterstock

Eliza Newlin Carney, the reporter who first coined the term in print on June 26, 2010, while working at National Journal…never imagined that a word she made up would find its way inside the big book. “I had a feeling it’d catch on, but not like this,” said Carney, now with Roll Call…The term replaces the far more technical “independent expenditure-only political action committee.”

Super PAC” will appear along with other recently approved words, including “energy drink,” “sexting,” “mash-up,” “game changer,” “gastropub,” “man cave,” the Oprah-coined “aha moment,” and “f-bomb.”

Super-PACs have spent upward of $700 million during the 2012 elections, and have attracted nearly endless controversy. Here’s a frame of reference to demonstrate just how relevant they were to this election season: In 2012, the New York Times published the term “super PAC” 1,126 times between January 1 and November 15. In 2010, the paper only published it three times.

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