Friday, November 20, 2009

New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year

When things get busy, blogging time is the first to get cut. But I'm back now, and ready to do some catch-up!

Last week, the lexicographers at the New Oxford American Dictionary announced their Word of the Year for 2009: unfriend, defined as "To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook." I guess online social networking is here to stay, eh?

The fun part about the WOTY isn't the word itself, but the conversations that it can spark, especially when you look at the other words that were considered but passed over — in this case, hashtag, netbook, sexting, freemium, birther, brown state, green state, tramp stamp, and a number of others (read the OUPBlog post). Which word would you have chosen?

You'll also find in the OUPBlog post two lists of "Notable Word Clusters." The longer of the two lists catalogues neologisms based on Obama, including Obamamama, Obamanomics, and Obamalicious. The other list touches on something I wrote about recently: Twitter-related vocabulary. Some of the common ones are in there — retweet, tweetup, twitterati — but my favorite is one I haven't heard often enough: twitterhea.

And no, no one really wants to know what you eat at every meal.