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"Cheriegate" - is it here to stay?

London -- London, December 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bank of English, which monitors new words in the English language, has picked up over 500 examples of "Cheriegate" in the last couple of days. It was inevitable that a new word would be coined to describe the current Cherie Blair saga, and equally inevitable that the word has turned out to be "Cheriegate".

Will the word "Cheriegate" enter the English language to be remembered forever or will it soon be forgotten? Of the many words formed with '-gate' (on the model of Watergate) over the years, who now remembers Lyinginstategate from earlier this year, or Squidgygate and Camillagate, or zippergate and Whitewatergate?

New words like this are captured by The Bank of English(r), which reaches a massive 524 million words this month. 524 million words is the equivalent of a non-stop conversation for five and a half years. It is the largest database of English available to any publisher anywhere in the world, and is available for use only by Collins lexicographers.

The Bank of English(r) includes written material ranging from lifestyle and hobby magazines to The Economist, through national and regional broadsheets and tabloids - which often pick up new usages quicker than any other source - to the weightiest academic tomes. Fiction of all kinds is also well represented, from romance through science fiction to crime and mystery. The spoken material includes not only transcripts of the BBC World Service but also 20 million words of spontaneous speech, ranging from lectures to dinner party and telephone conversations.

The Bank of English(r) is updated regularly to capture the 17,000 new words coined in English every year. It allows Collins lexicographers to monitor new words electronically, and it plays a crucial role in making sure that all Collins dictionaries are a uniquely up-to-date record of the language.

Other new words in The Bank of English(r) released this month show that the majority of new usages continue to come from the areas of food and drink, hobbies, computing, the Net, lifestyle and health:

- Is Cherie the only high-profile working mother to be dependent on a "lifestyle guru"?

- How many people in the UK are worried that "foundation hospitals" will create a two-tier health service?

- Perhaps we should all sail away on "booze cruises" to forget our worries and the annual "Christmas rage", although the proposed port blockade might affect everyone's plans for stocking-up for Christmas.

A sample of some of the other new words in The Bank of English(r)
Kitchenalia (for kitchenware)
Car park syndrome
to think out of the box
Christmas rage
Everything else/the rest is gravy
Weapons of mass destruction

For further information or to arrange an interview with a lexicographer from Collins Dictionaries please contact: Caroline Henry: Tel: +44 (0)20 8307 4115 Fax: +44 (0)20 8307 4316, E-mail:
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Date:Dec 13, 2002
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