Language is constantly changing. New words are being created everyday and old words fall from the language through lack of use.
A word that has popped up in the last couple of years is tnetennba. It was born on 2 July 2010 during an episode of The IT Crowd, a Channel 4 produced comedy about working in an I.T. department. Maurice Moss is a gifted yet strange computer technician and gets accepted on to the game show Countdown. You can see the birth here:
[ If you just want the money shot then here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49UakIHb1yI ]
No definition is given in the game show as to what a tnetennba meant but when Maurice was asked to give it in a sentence he said:
Good morning, that's a nice tnetennba.
At the time the word was made up for television and I'm sure in the program they just randomly selected letters during the filming and the sequence tnetennba just came out on that particular take. The moment it was spoken everything started to change.
People started to search for it on-line, talk about it in forums and ask about it on question sites like Yahoo. It was becoming a word. Let's have a look at what a word is. According to Dictionary.com word is defined as:
a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are composed of one or more morphemes and are either the smallest units susceptible of independent use or consist of two or three such units combined under certain linking conditions, as with the loss of primary accent that distinguishes a black bird from black bird. Words are usually separated by spaces in writing, and are distinguished phonologically, as by accent, in many languages.
The first part of the definition applies in that it is a spoken sound but the second part does not. It is not a principle carrier of meaning. Or is it?
All this interest in a made up string of characters has produced an interesting side effect. It produces a steady flow of web traffic created by people trying to learn more about this word. For example, we have the campaign to get tnetennba into the dictionary which contains one sentence and a shed load of adverts. People are naming themselves after the word tnetennba. There's twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and pretty much all of them are trying to sell you T-shirts with tnetennba written on it using some kind of Countdown inspired theme (I think Channel 4 missed a trick with this one).
Even the phrase "Good morning, that's a nice tnetennba" is used as tag lines on blogs or signature lines on forum posts.
Tnetennba doesn't have it's own Wikipedia page yet but it is featured in the Countdown (game show) page. It is, however, in the urban dictionary.
The general consensus is that the word Tnetennba means: a word embedded in a web site in order to increase traffic. The word is, what it is. Perfect.
All the other sites tell you that tnetennba is not a word. This, as far as I know, this is the only site which says that it is a word, it just hasn't made it into a dictionary yet. The same was true of muggle, gaydar, mini-me and meatspace but they all made it in because they were in common usage.