In a small sign of what's happened to digital media in recent years, the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary have selected 'podcast' as their Word of the Year for 2005.

This means the word - virtually unknown in June 2004 and now embraced by broadcasters large and small worldwide - will be included in next year's dictionary.

The word will be defined as: "A digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the internet for downloading to a personal audio player." It will be added to the next online update of the New Oxford American Dictionary, due in early 2006.

Erin McKean, editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, said: "Podcast was considered for inclusion last year, but we found that not enough people were using it, or were even familiar with the concept. This year it's a completely different story. The word has finally caught up with the rest of the iPod phenomenon."

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