AP Disowns Blue-Blooded Bar Maids, Likes Social Networks

AP Stylebook has more than 200 new entries for 2008.

The AP Stylebook, often used by news departments as the arbiter of appropriate word usage, has more than 200 new entries for 2008 and some interesting words it believes are old-fashioned.

Many of the new entries reflect the growing use of computers and advances in technology. They include anti-spyware, podcast, text messaging, social networks, snail mail and Wikipedia.

Words the AP deemed outdated include barmaid, blue blood, malarkey, milquetoast, Photostat, riffraff and WAC, which is no longer used by the U.S. military but is the abbreviation for what had been the Women's Army Corps.

Reflecting other changes, the AP added outsourcing and an update on the use of "African-American." In prior editions, AP said the "preferred term is black." In the 2008 edition, the stylebook entry for African American said: "Acceptable for an American black person of African descent. Black is also acceptable. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable."

In another change, AP said the preferred term for mentally retarded is now mentally disabled.

The stylebook was worked on by AP staffers worldwide, coordinated by AP editor at large Darrell Christian, deputy managing editor Sally Jacobsen and manager for news administration David Minthorn.

The stylebook began as a 62-page collection of rules and style pointers in 1953. The 2008 version is 300 pages. The new print version and online subscriptions can be ordered online with a discount for member news organizations and college bookstores.