Battle of the Words of the Year

Merriam-Webster Inc. has crowned the word “w00t” (spelled with two zeros) as word of the year, according to Reuters. “w00t” was created by online...

Merriam-Webster Inc. has crowned the word “w00t” (spelled with two zeros) as word of the year, according to Reuters. “w00t” was created by online gamers and is supposed to express joy. (It’s like saying “yay” the dictionary said.)

This represents a new trend in the American language by video gamers and text messagers who rely on numeric keyboards to type words. (Better than the good old beeper days where you had to decode every number to reveal a message. 43770 = hello. Ring a bell anyone?)

Visitors to the Merriam-Webster Web site were invited to vote on a list of 20 words. The words were a combined list of twenty of the most frequently looked-up words on Merriam-Webster OnLine, and some of the most popular submissions to Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary. This contest followed last year’s, which came up with Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” as word of the year.

Unsurprisingly, the runner-up was “facebook,” which means to add someone to a list of friends on Facebook.com or search them on the site. (“I’m going to facebook her on my computer when I get home tonight.”)

But New Oxford American Dictionary recently announced that their word of the year was “locavore,” meaning, someone who eats locally grown food.

And Webster’s New World Dictionary came up with a term of the year—“grass station,” which is a theoretical place where cars could fill up with ethanol someday. (Both phrases are a total miss for me. Goes to show how up-to-date I am with trendy, in-the-moment 'green' phrases.)

My conclusion? Techies and gadget lovers are more prone to use Merriam Webster, whereas the environmentally conscious prefer either New Oxford American Dictionary or Webster’s New World Dictionary.

Well, I resort to Dictionary.com, and one of the words of the year listed on their site is “nappy” (as in the infamous racial slur that was echoed by Don Imus). So I guess I’m in a category of my own.

Just kidding about the whole categorization thing. Let's just be relieved that people still bother to look up words, no matter how they were created.

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