In news that should come as no surprise to anyone who has turned on the TV or opened a newspaper in the past six months, Merriam-Webster has named "bailout" the most popular word of 2008, based on the word's "highest intensity of lookups" over the course of the year. Here's hoping 2009's word is something a little bit more cheerful and not, say, "depression" or "apocalypse." [Reuters]
Last year, the lexicographers at dictionary maker Merriam-Webster proclaimed w00t its Word of the Year. For 2008, they've added fanboy, webinar, netroots, and pretexting to the lexicon. Who cares? I do, because I find Merriam's online dictionary, more consistent, more focused, and better written than its wikified open dictionary or the Google results for define:pretexting. There'll be 100 or so new words in the Merriam-Webster's 2008 edition, due September 1. Meanwhile, I called the company and got the 25 most populist of the new entries as a teaser:
I was really hoping "facebook" would be named Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster. But no, "w00t" — in l33t-speak no less — took home the honors. I should have known better than try to call an Internet poll. My mistake was underestimating the videogamer community's pull. Now if they could only agree on an etymology.
Just in case the rest of the world isn't paying attention to the Valley's throbbing hard-on for Facebook, Merriam-Webster has stacked the deck in favor of facebook for Word of the Year. Last year the honor went to Stephen Colbert's truthiness. While not as catchy, timely, or funny as truthiness, there is less doubt about facebook's value as Word of the Year than Facebook's valuation of $15 billion.
Because there's always room for more annual summation stunts, the lexicographers at Merriam-Webster have begun their yearly search for "word of the year" — a single term that aptly sums up all of 2006. Last year's reductionist masterpiece was "integrity." But this year, rather than just choosing from Internet and press mentions, Merriam-Webster is accepting online submissions of WOTY candidates. Do we even need to spell out the obvious course of action? Follow your conscience. Vote douchebag.