Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts January 2010

WOTY 2009

In the previous entry, I mentioned that the AMERICAN DIALECT SOCIETY would soon choose the 2009 Word of the Year. And, so it has - along with the Word of the Decade and a host of other words deemed useful, outrageous and unlikely to succeed.

This weekend, the members of the Society gathered in Baltimore where the fateful votes were cast. You can read the entire news release HERE, but I'll give you the highlights:

  • Word of the Year: tweet
  • Word of the Decade: google
  • Most useful: fail! (used to indicate something that is egregiously unsuccessful) 
  • Most creative: Dracula sneeze (sneezing into the crook of your arm)
  • Most unnecessary: sea kittens (a PETA term for fish)
  • Most outrageous: death panel
  • Most euphamistic: hike the Appalachian trail (think South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford)
  • Most likely to succeed: twenty-ten
  • Least likely to succeed: Naughties (or any similar term used to describe the first decade of the 21st century)

If you read the news release, not only can you learn more about the winning words, but you can also check out the words and phrases that were runners-up in each category. For example, crotch bomber, which made it into the "most outrageous" category.

The news release also recaps winning words from the past 20 years. It's interesting to look back at this history of the language because it accurately reflects the social and political trends of the time.

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