Sunday, February 3, 2008

superbowl for grammarians

A few weeks ago, teams of linguists, lexicographers and etymologists faced off in Chicago to determine the American Dialect Society's annual Word of the Year. Among nominations for 2007's most notable new word or phrase:

connectile dysfunction -inability to gain or maintain a connection

bacn -impersonal email such as alerts, newsletters, and
automated reminders that are nearly as annoying as
spam but which one has chosen to receive.

Googlegänger -a person with your name who shows up when you google yourself.

Happy Kwanhanamas! [Kwanza + Hanukka + Christmas] -Happy holidays!

NINJA -real estate term describing mortgage candidate with no income, no job or assets.

quadriboobage -appearance of having four breasts caused by wearing a brassiere that is too small.

tapafication -tendency of restaurants to serve food in many small portions

toe-tapper -a homosexual. From Senator Larry Craig's experience last June in a public restroom.

vegansexual -a person who eats no meat, uses no animal-derived goods and prefers not to have sex with non-vegans.

If I'd had a vote, I would have opted for wrap rage which means anger brought on by the frustration of trying to open a factory-sealed purchase.

But the word most compelling to grammarians was subprime- used to describe a risky or poorly documented loan or mortgage.

Last year's winner was pluto (to be plutoed means to be demoted or devalued) which somehow prevailed over lactard, a person who is lactose-intolerant.

In 2005, it was truthiness (what one wishes to be the truth regardless of facts) although nominations included tantalizing choices like whale-tail (the appearance of thong or g-string underwear above the waistband) and crotchfruit (a child or children.)

Full accounts of past winners and nominations can be found on the Society’s website. In case you're in need of random distractions before kickoff.

[thanks to the lingual vigilance of visualthesaurus and grammar-geek Ellen]

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