The Oxford University Press issued its “Word of the Year” along with a list of the top 10 finalists. Some you may be familiar with, and others may raise eyebrows – as they did mine.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 Finalists for “2010 Word of the Year”:
1. bankster: noun, a member of the banking industry perceived as a predator that grows rich at the expense of those suffering in a crumbling economy: trillions of dollars are flowing to the banksters in the form of near-zero interest loans.
2. crowdsourcing: noun ,the practice whereby an organization enlists a variety of freelancers, paid or unpaid, to work on a specific task or problem: Kodak used social media crowdsourcing to engage its customers in their naming contest.
3. double-dip: adjective, denoting or relating to a recession during which a period of economic decline is followed by a brief period of growth, followed by a further period of decline: higher food and energy prices could increase the risk of a double-dip recession.
4. gleek: noun, a fan of the television series Glee.
5. nom nom: exclamation, an expression of delight when eating. nom noms (pl. noun) delicious food. (popularized by the noises made by Cookie Monster on Sesame Street)
6. retweet: verb, (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). Noun, a reposted or forwarded message on Twitter.
7. Tea Party: noun, a US political party that emerged from a movement of conservatives protesting the federal government in 2009.
8. top kill: noun, a procedure designed to seal a leaking oil well, whereby large amounts of a material heavier than the oil—e.g., mud—are pumped into the affected well.
9. Vuvuzela: noun (also called vuvu), a long horn blown by fans at soccer matches. Gained notoriety during 2010 World Cup.
10. webisode: noun, 1. an original episode derived from a television series, made for online viewing. 2. an online video that presents an original short film or promotes a product, movie, or television series.
And…….(drumroll, please), the 2010 Word of the Year:
Definition: verb used loosely to mean “reject,” widely attributed to Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, who used it in a Twitter message in July in reference to “refudiate” the proposal to build a mosque. The word is a combination of “refute” and “repudiate” and is not, in fact, a real word. However it received so much attention that it prompted the editors of the Oxford University Press to conclude that “neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject.’”My personal favorite: vuvuzela. It sounds like an exotic bird or fruit that one might enjoy eating in Fiji while sipping a colorful drink with a little umbrella in it. Popular during the World Cup, the horns don’t really look or sound that exotic at all. But the word is fun to say.
As for nom nom….really? This is now part of the American lexicon? Are we reverting to baby talk? (no offense, Cookie Monster). I dare someone to use this in a sentence!
I thought webisode was a word two years ago. And double-dip – previously used in reference to uncultured party guests who would dip their potato chip twice in the guacamole or party dip of choice – has now become associated with the Great Recession. Ah, progress. I found it interesting that three of the finalists – crowdsourcing, retweet and webisode – are a direct impact of social media influence.
Sam Sifton and Grant Barrett provide some additional words that impacted 2010 in the New York Times.
What are your favorites?