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Truthiness: It's the word

After 12 months of naked partisanship on Capitol Hill, on cable TV and in the blogosphere, the word of the year for 2006 is ... "truthiness." The word - if one can call it that - best summed up 2006, according to an online survey by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster.

"Truthiness" was credited to Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, who defined it as "truth that comes from the gut, not books."

"We're at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people's minds, and truth has become up for grabs," said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. " 'Truthiness' is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue."

Other Top 10 finishers included "war," "insurgent," "sectarian" and "corruption." But "truthiness" won 5-to-1, Morse said.

Colbert, who once derided the folks at Springfield-based Merriam-Webster as a bunch of "wordinistas," was pleased.

"Though I'm no fan of reference books and their fact-based agendas, I am a fan of anyone who chooses to honor me," he said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

Colbert first uttered "truthiness" during an October 2005 broadcast of The Colbert Report, his parody of combative, conservative talk shows.

Grow up and eat

A major Brazilian fashion event has moved to bar models under age 16, part of a national effort to increase awareness about eating disorders after a 21-year-old model died from anorexia last month. "In Paris and Milan, models under 16 years can't participate in these types of events," Paula Marini, a Ford Models spokeswoman, said in an Associated Press report. Next month's Sao Paulo Fashion Week added the requirement to a previous rule that modeling agencies present a signed medical certificate proving that their models are in good health. In September, Madrid's Fashion Week banned models with a body mass index of less than 18. Body mass index is a calculation doctors normally apply to study obesity, and anyone with an index below 18.5 is considered underweight. The issue of overly thin models also was big at this year's fall fashion weeks in Milan and London.

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