'In silico' and 'pink Viagra' will be buzzwords for 2002

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The Independent Online

Over the past 100 years, the defining word or phrase of the year has swung from Teddy bear to depression, from Blairite to economy-class syndrome. In 2002, it could be the turn of In silico.

In silico? According to the creators of a new compilation of current buzzwords, it is set to be one of the most used terms of 2002. Perhaps it's best known to the readers of the publication ISB (In Silico Biology – an international journal on computational molecular biology). It means computer programming in virtual laboratories.

However, the competition is not exactly challenging. Pink Viagra, describing a pill for improving the sexual pleasure of women, is another of the bookies' favourites.

It is joined among the front-runners in the competition to find words that define the year by brain finger-printing (a form of lie-detection that works by monitoring brain waves) and dead tree edition (paper edition), according to the dictionary publisher Collins, which is compiling the list.

Following the modern penchant for abbreviation – the beloved term of the text messenger, B4, was the word of the year in 2001 – the list is joined by e-day, the day that Europe switched to the euro.

Collins claims Teddy bear was the defining word of 1902, when its dictionary first went to print, depression in 1905, Blairite in 1997 and economy-class syndrome in 2000. A spokesman for Collins said: "There is a defining word for every year and although these are the suggestions for 2002, it is still early days yet."

Words that were included in the dictionary in 1902 but are no longer commonly used include maffick, to celebrate extravagantly a national success; bovrilize, to condense; and groceteria, meaning a self-service grocery.

Those that have changed in meaning include economist, which used to mean one who is frugal; nondescript, which used to mean something that has not been described; and pundit, which once meant a learned man but is now a label for former footballers and managers on ITV's The Premiership.

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