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Pluto's revenge: 'Word of the Year' award

Story Highlights

• American Dialect Society chooses "plutoed" over "climate canary"
• "Macaca moment" another strong contender for honors
• ADS voted for "Word of the Year" and other categories at annual meeting
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(CNN) -- Pluto may no longer be a planet, but it has a new claim to fame: "Plutoed" has been chosen 2006 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society.

The society defined "to pluto" as "to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."

The former planet had some tough competition in the voting, which took place Friday at the ADS' annual meeting, held in Anaheim, California.

"Plutoed" won in a runoff against "climate canary," defined as "an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon."

The runner-up was "macaca" or "macaca moment," defined as "treating an American citizen as an alien" -- a reference to a campaign remark by former Virginia Sen. George Allen that some say marked the beginning of the end for his re-election hopes.

Also in the running for Word of the Year were YouTube; surge (referring to a large, but brief, increase in troop strength); and flog ("a fake blog created by a corporation to promote a product or a television show").

Like any good awards show, the ADS meeting had multiple categories.

In the "Most Unnecessary" category, "SuriKat" (the supposed nickname of the baby girl of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) beat out "the decider," President Bush's description in April of his position in relation to whether Donald Rumsfeld kept his job as secretary of defense.

The "Most Outrageous" award went to "Cambodian accessory," defined as "Angelina Jolie's adopted child who is Cambodian."

In the "Most Euphemistic" category, the winner was "waterboarding," defined as "an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning."

The ADS has been choosing Words of the Year since 1990. The Word of the Year for 2005 was "truthiness," invented by Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," and defined by the ADS as "what one wishes to be the truth regardless of the facts." (Read the full list of winners for 2006 and past yearsexternal link)

Winning words or phrases don't have to be brand new; what's important is that they gained new prominence in the past year.

The society is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and includes academics, writers, and others.

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Pluto, seen with its moons in an image from the Hubble Space Telscope, inspires the 2006 Word of the Year.

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