Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oxford Dictionaries Choose UK and US "Word of the Year"

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Washington Post

Link to article:
Oxford Dictionaries Choose "Omnishambles" as British Word of the Year

The language gurus at Oxford University Press, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, have chosen separate "words of the year" for the UK and US.  The British neologism for 2012 is a replacement for "snafu", (the rather twee-sounding) "omnishambles".  It is a mashup of omni and shambles, and describes a situation that is utterly screwed up.  The US word is a new usage of a current word, the use of "gif" as a verb--as in "I took a clip of a cute kitten and giffed it on Twitter."

Excerpt: "Omnishambles was chosen over shortlisted terms including 'mummy porn' — the genre exemplified by the best-selling '50 Shades' book series — and 'green-on-blue,' military attacks by forces regarded as neutral, as when members of the Afghan army or police attack foreign troops. (For American English speakers, it’s 'mommy porn.')

The Olympics offered up finalists including the verb 'to medal,' 'Games Maker' — the name given to thousands of Olympic volunteers — and distance runner Mo Farah’s victory dance, 'the Mobot.'

Europe’s financial crisis lent the shortlisted word 'Eurogeddon,' while technology produced 'second screening' — watching TV while simultaneously using a computer, phone or tablet — and social media popularized the acronym 'YOLO,' you only live once.

The final shortlisted term in Britain is an old word given new life. 'Pleb,' a derogatory epithet for lower-class people, was alleged to have been uttered to a police officer by British Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell. He denied using the term, but resigned.

Other words on the U.S. shortlist included Higgs boson (as in particle), superstorm (as in Sandy) and 'nomophobia,' the anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone.

All the shortlisted words have made a splash in 2012, but editors say there is no guarantee any of them will endure long enough to enter the hallowed pages of the Oxford English Dictionary."

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