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Word of the Year
December 22, 2010 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Merriam-Webster Online has come up with its take on the top word of the year -- plus nine others that are close to the top. (I'm partial to no. 10, furtive, myself.)
posted by anothermug (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
This jibes with my observation of a marked increase in Doppelgängers in 2010,
posted by auto-correct at 3:08 PM on December 22, 2010


NPR's Geoff Nunberg chose 'no' as the word of the year for 2010.
posted by trip and a half at 3:09 PM on December 22, 2010


Yeah, I was just wondering what news stories in 2010 sparked increased lookups of doppelganger and shellacking.
posted by Gator at 3:09 PM on December 22, 2010


Somehow, I suspect everybody who looked up "socialism" was a liberal trying to demonstrate to an older family member that they don't know what they're talking about.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:11 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what this means, actually.... these aren't the most used words, these are the words that, for some reason, people looked up... because they didn't know what they meant, because they couldn't spell them, because they were playing scrabble...who knows...?

It's an interesting, but meaningless list....
posted by HuronBob at 3:13 PM on December 22, 2010


shellacking
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:14 PM on December 22, 2010


Eh, sorry about the lazy link. I meant to say, Obama used it in reference to the Democrats' defeat in the recent U.S. midterm elections.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:16 PM on December 22, 2010


I was told the word of the year 2010 was "boondoggle".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:17 PM on December 22, 2010


Somehow, I suspect everybody who looked up "socialism" was a liberal trying to demonstrate to an older family member that they don't know what they're talking about.

see also the next word on the list, "bigot"
posted by Hoopo at 3:19 PM on December 22, 2010


This profile of America's mood and interests is determined by the volume of user lookups at Merriam-Webster.com in response to current events and conditions.

Profile of moods and interests? Or...profile of America's bad vocab. I mean, 'pragmatic'?
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:19 PM on December 22, 2010




If you think furtive's good, wait until you hear it in a Bristolian accent.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:24 PM on December 22, 2010


I'm very happy to see "ebullient" there, even if way down at #8. Come this time of year, we can all use a little ebullience.
posted by chavenet at 3:26 PM on December 22, 2010


I wondered about doppelganger too but apparently its presence reflects a Facebook fad.

And I'm with Lutoslawski -- people didn't know these words and had to look them up? Really?
posted by bearwife at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2010


For a moment, I thought it was ElBullient, "showing liveliness and enthusiasm in the research kitchen."
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:31 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


For a moment, I thought it was ElBullient, "showing liveliness and enthusiasm in the research kitchen."

If I could favourite that again, I would. I should also point out that I like the word ebullient quite a lot.
posted by ob at 3:35 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I heart "shellacking". It's one of those words (at least the slang use) that sounds like what it describes.

Getting shellacked with a shillelagh.

Doppelgänger and ebullient are great words too. One makes me think of twin demon Doberman pinschers and the other rhymes with "brilliant".
posted by mmrtnt at 3:52 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The grandaddy of the words of the year votes is yet to happen! I'll be part of the American Dialect Society's (non-profit, no dictionaries to flack) 21st annual WOTY in Pittsburgh January 7. There are five lists of early nominations there.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:10 PM on December 22, 2010


Hmm. A lot of those lists are phrase- and acronym-heavy, which I feel defeats the entire point. The Canadian one is embarrassingly pundit-echo-chamber, as if nothing in Canada happens outside Ontario, and makes me feel bad for knowing them all. Judging by all the shitty slang the MSM generates it's a wonder they get paid so much (wiki-leaker? fake lake? anything-gate? belieber? hacktivism??) My money's on "vuvuzela," lest we forget, but perhaps "refudiate" is even more memorable.

I wholeheartedly refudiate those vuvuzelas, and hope somebody gives them a good shellacking.
posted by mek at 4:42 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least these are all genuine words and not a garbled mess spouted by an idiot. Vuvuzela just makes me happy.
posted by arcticseal at 4:48 PM on December 22, 2010


At least these are all genuine words and not a garbled mess spouted by an idiot.

Hey now, no need to speak so ill of our friend Shakespeare! Seriously, though, where do you think "genuine words" come from?
posted by mek at 5:10 PM on December 22, 2010


> It's an interesting, but meaningless list....

I completely disagree. It's the only one of these lists that actually has a point. Sure, it's hard to know why exactly people were looking up these words, but it's an actual objective fact that can bear attempts at interpretation; you may not be interested, but as an official word nerd/geek I certainly am. By contrast, the rest of the annual word lists are just pointless desperate attempts to cash in on a fad and get a little publicity. Who cares what some pundit, or group of pundits, chooses as "word of the year"?
posted by languagehat at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2010


Shellacking is not at all uncommon when used to describe a large defeat in the context of sports. Which shows again that Obama uses the language of sport in politics like Bush used coded messages to evangelicals.
posted by norm at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2010


What about the new made-up words? Ever since my 'crotchal' area was frisked by a TSA agent I use the word 'crotchal' every day. It's like a gift from the underwear bomber straight to me.
posted by quadog at 6:54 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Furtive?
posted by Evilspork at 5:03 PM on December 23, 2010


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