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Oxford Dictionary talks tech

If you're not too busy deleting phishing e-mails while updating your wiki with links to podcasts debating the politics of offshoring, you might have time to check out the latest additions to the Oxford Dictionary of English, which include a score of frequently-referenced tech terms.

Serving as the latest form of proof that tech-speak is increasingly going mainstream, the forward-looking folks at Oxford University Press have added such computer-oriented verbiage as offshoring, phishing, podcast and wiki to their big book.

Other commonly-used business words also made the cut, such as the statistical mainstay "demographic," along with the usual array of jargon that has moved far enough into our daily-speak to gain acceptance by the linguistic experts.

For the record, the Oxford vocabulary specialists define the above tech lingo as such:

Offshoring: noun: The practices of basing some of a company's processes or services overseas, so as to take advantage of lower costs.

Phishing: noun: The fraudulent practice of sending e-mails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to steal passwords and credit card numbers.

Podcast: noun: A digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player. Derivative: podcasting: noun.

Wiki: noun: A website or database developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.

In another sign that offshoring may be lending a helping hand to cultural crossover, the Oxford Dictionary has also added a slew of Indian words to its annals, as India remains a hot spot of international business outsourcing.

Tech jabber has been finding its way into the dictionary at a rapid pace since the dawn of the Internet era. Looking back, some of the words chosen as keepers by Oxford have caught on faster than others.

For instance, in 2000 Oxford added winners including, e-tailer, webcam and XML, and obscurities such as "screenager," a Web-obsessed teenager, and "meatspace," which refers to "computing in the physical world as opposed to cyberspace."

Apparently when it comes to embracing new vocabulary, people, not dictionaries, get the last word.