Google is now officially a verb in the English language.

First the venerable authority on the language that is the Oxford English Dictionary added Google as a verb to its online edition.

Now Merriam-Webster has added google, without the capital "G" as a generic term, as a verb to its 11th edition released this autumn.

In the online edition of the American dictionary, it defines it thus: "to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web".

"It's a consequence of us finding the word used in print so frequently that we feel it's appropriate to add it in our dictionary", said Merriam Webster Associate Editor Peter Sokolowski.

"When we find it in print, it is usually used without any definition at all so it is becoming naturalised."

Merriam Webster editors spend time every day scanning publications to see what new words or usages crop up.

It only took 5 years for the word to gain its official status, which is remarkably quick; usually it takes 10 to 20 years.

The inclusion of "google" in the dictionary may seem a boon to the Internet company, but in actual fact it reveals an erosion of its trademark. A word that is part of everyday usage is not legally protected anymore.

According to one report, Google alerted investors to the problem in its 2005 annual report, saying that "there is a risk that the word Google could become so commonly used that it because synonymous with the word 'search'. If this happens we could lose protection for our trademark, which could result in other people using the word 'Google' to refer to their own products."

Other new words that have made it into the new edition of Merriam Webster include, "spyware", "mouse potato", "soul patch", "ringtone", and "himbo".