- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 31, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — “Teensploitation’s” time has come, at least in the dictionary.

“Pleather,” “body wrap,” “MP3,” and “information technology” are among the other words and phrases that have gotten the nod from the editors at Merriam-Webster in the annual update of their Collegiate Dictionary.

The inclusion of teensploitation — the exploitation of teenagers by the producers of teen-oriented films — comes 22 years after the word appeared in show-business publications, said John M. Morse, president and publisher of the Springfield-based dictionary company.

The word is an offshoot of “blaxploitation,” coined in the 1970s to refer to the exploitation of blacks by film producers.

“It’s interesting because we have a new word spawned by another a decade later,” Mr. Morse said.

As a lexicographer, Mr. Morse said he approached the words with some caution, concerned they might be “a fad of the moment.” Still, over the past two decades “teensploitation” has moved from entertainment magazines to mainstream publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New York Times.

And it is when a word or new usage becomes used with some frequency by the popular press that it becomes a candidate for the dictionary.

“Language is a window into our culture and history and the way we try to think,” he said. “It is continually evolving and there are a lot of word enthusiasts in the world.”

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