Would Henry Higgins Approve?
Recently, Walter Mossberg wrote an article in his Personal Technology blog about Wi-Fi Internet service for cars titled, "Wi-Fi on Wheels Is Steady, but Has a Speed Bump."
While reading his description of a router that can be installed in car trunks, I was brought up short by this sentence: "This router looks like a military device, because it is ruggedized to survive jolts and vibrations..." Ruggedized??? That couldn't really be a word, could it? It sounded like slangy gobbledygook to me, similar to the term Woody Allen used to describe a rock concert when he said, "It achieved total heaviosity." But this was Walter Mossberg, tech guru of the Wall Street Journal. Surely he wouldn't use jargon like that. And of course he didn't. When I see a word that I don't know or have suspicions about, I go to Google and type "define" (without the quotes) and then the word. In this case, the search results brought up links to several online dictionaries, all of which assured me that "ruggedized" is indeed a word that means, "the act of making a piece of equipment rugged (strengthening to resist wear or abuse)." The Free Online Dictionary listed the related term, "ruggedization," as a synonym. To satisfy my curiosity, I checked the Oxford English Dictionary print edition, which also defined ruggedization as "the action or process of making something rugged."
In a disturbing development, the OED says "heaviosity" is really a word, too.