“Super PAC” Makes It Into the Dictionary

It finally happened: The term “Super PAC” will be added to the dictionary. Politico reports that the term is expected to appear in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. The publication also talked to the woman responsible for the coinage:

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Eliza Newlin Carney, the reporter who first coined the term in print on June 26, 2010, while working at National Journal…never imagined that a word she made up would find its way inside the big book. “I had a feeling it’d catch on, but not like this,” said Carney, now with Roll Call…The term replaces the far more technical “independent expenditure-only political action committee.”

Super PAC” will appear along with other recently approved words, including “energy drink,” “sexting,” “mash-up,” “game changer,” “gastropub,” “man cave,” the Oprah-coined “aha moment,” and “f-bomb.”

Super-PACs have spent upward of $700 million during the 2012 elections, and have attracted nearly endless controversy. Here’s a frame of reference to demonstrate just how relevant they were to this election season: In 2012, the New York Times published the term “super PAC” 1,126 times between January 1 and November 15. In 2010, the paper only published it three times.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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