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'Wiki' makes quick trip to English

Word's Internet rise gets nod from dictionary

LONDON -- If you think "wiki" doesn't sound like English, you are right. But it's English now.

This word born on the Pacific Island of Hawaii finally got an entry into the latest edition of the online Oxford English Dictionary along with 287 other new words.

It has earned it.

"Words are included in the dictionary on the basis of the documentary evidence that we have collected about them. A while ago this evidence suggested that wiki was starting to make a name for itself," John Simpson, the dictionary's chief editor, said in a statement.

"We tracked it for several years, researched its origins and finally decided it was time to include it in the dictionary,"

But "wiki wiki," meaning "quick" in Hawaiian, has a very different meaning in its new host language: a type of Web page designed so that its contents can be edited by anyone who accesses it.

That the word acquired a new meaning is attributed to the fact that commenting and editing on Internet websites became faster, said the dictionary's principle editor of new words, Graeme Diamond.

"There was no delay in submitting a comment," Diamond said.

The most famous example is the popular Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. Diamond said the Internet-age concept of "wiki" fits well with the 120-year-old dictionary's own methods.

"Its long tradition of working on collaborative principles means it has welcomed the contribution of information and quotation evidence from the public over 150 years," he said.

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