Thursday, February 19, 2009

2008 Word of the Year

In addition to my love of reading books, I also love editing. Luckily I get to do it most days, and today at work I was reading over Copyediting, a newsletter I receive about language. Although this is a little out dated, they listed the "word of the year" for 2008. Different dictionaries/societies chose different words (for different reasons), and here are the winners:
  • hypermiling (New Oxford American Dictionary) - "to hypermile," "to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one's car and one's driving techniques".
  • overshare (Webster's New World) - verb, "to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions from alarmed discomfort to approval.
  • bailout (Merriam-Webster)
  • CORRECTION (American Dialect Society) - bailout
My favorite by far was overshare, chosen by Webster. "The Word of the Year results from Webster's New World's language monitoring program, which documents emerging merging English as it appears in the press, TV, radio, and Internet. Every month, more than 2,000 new words, meanings, pronunciations, and spellings are identified. At the end of the year, the editors at Webster’s New World review the collected research and create a short list of words that have yet to appear in the dictionary but hold intrinsic linguistics qualities that merit consideration for entry into the Webster’s New World lexicon."

A whole page is dedicated to the word, including Webster's Editor in Chief explaining why they chose the word, and real life examples of oversharing (and its consequences) from people in NYC.

Other final candidates included leisure sickness, cyberchondriac, selective ignorance and youthanasia.

All of these words fascinate me, so maybe this will become a weekly feature (I'll find and explain the losing/runner-up Words of the Year, get excited!)

1 comment:

  1. The American Dialect Society web site doesn't just list nominations. The 2008 Word of the Year was bailout, as it notes on the page marked "Words of the Year" linked in the upper right corner.