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2010 Word of the Year

December 21, 2010
A multi-volume Latin dictionary (Egidio Forcel...

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John Morse, president and publisher of the Springfield, Mass.-based dictionary [Merriam-Webster], said “austerity” saw more than 250,000 searches on the dictionary’s free online tool and came with more coverage of the debt crisis.

“What we look for … what are the words that have had spikes that strike us very much as an anomaly for their regular behavior,” Morse said. “The word that really qualifies this year for that is ‘austerity’.”

I guess that’s fine.  I don’t favor it.  I really don’t favor a word of the year in general.  Why must we encourage an elitist caste of words?  What about the blue-collar champions like “the” and “fuck”?  Aren’t those words the real heroes?

I suppose I should be happy that it’s not something like “facebooking”.

The top ten words of a given year give a goofy little bit of insight into the cultural brain during that year.

Apparently “doppelgänger” was in the top ten searches for the M-W Dictionary in the past year.  I gather from the article that the word came up in episodes of Vampire Diaries (this sentence was formed in a manner that should make it seem like I didn’t know that fact from seeing the show).

So, essentially, words are getting attention due to how little people know and whether they are compelled to Google for that information.

Runners-up also announced Monday included “pragmatic,” “moratorium,” “socialism,” and “bigot”

I want to be sad that people need to look all this shit up, but maybe they were just looking for discussion forums and in-depth analysis.  Maybe I should be glad that people are motivated and curious enough to look anything up.

Words.  They so crazy.  Confuzzlin’ the peeps and forcing Google searches and queries of poor, tired mommy while she be trynna cook up some dinner.

I wonder what the top Xhosa word-sound was in 2010.  I would also like to see the top ten broken into geographical sections and represented in pictures.

Hmmm, where was I?

Back to the list!


The top ten:

Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2010:

  1. austerity
  2. pragmatic
  3. moratorium
  4. socialism
  5. bigot
  6. doppelgänger
  7. shellacking
  8. ebullient
  9. dissident
  10. furtive

Past winners:

2009   admonish

2008   bailout

2007   woot

2006   truthiness

2005   integrity

2004   blog

2003   democracy

Of Note:

  • rogue made it in 2008 and 2009
  • socialism made the cut in 2008 and 2010
  • partisan made it in 2004, bipartisan was on the list for 2008
  • 2007 is my favorite year listed (even though it has woot at 1 and facebook at 2) with conundrum, quixotic, sardoodledom, Pecksniffian, hypocrite and charlatan
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Necromanticore permalink
    December 23, 2010 12:16 PM

    mouth feel? :p

  2. December 25, 2010 6:28 PM

    I suggest an austerity program of pragmatic moratoria on non-socialist bigots who like to doppelgänger and shellack ebullient dissidents furtively.

    What do I win?

    • December 27, 2010 12:43 PM

      You win a paddlin’. Please queue up with all the other dissidents.

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