Okay, this post really has nothing to do with skepticism, but as writers and readers, it’s simply a bit of fun for us to start our Saturday.
On January 9, the American Dialect SocietyÂ held its annual convention whereÂ its main order of business was to choose the top words and phrases of 2008. ADS members gathered to debate which American English vocabulary items â€” not just words but phrases â€” were not only newly prominent, but also notable and impactful in the past year. The staff at theÂ Airport Motor Lodge (or where ever they actually met)Â kept them supplied with coffee and danish as they the discussed the merits of contenders like “Palinesque,” “skadoosh,” “bromance” and “thought showers” before voting for an overall winner.
By the way,Â I’m still digging one of 2007’s contenders, which wasÂ “Googleganger”. According to the society, “Googleganger” is a play on “doppelganger”. A Googleganger is a person with your name who shows up when you Google yourself.
Go try it, and see if you have any cool Googlegangers.
I actually have a couple of Googlegangers, but the most prominent seems to be a fairly well-received photographer. Heck, this blog is listedÂ fourth when I Google “Sam Ogden”. Maybe I’m gaining on my Googleganger. Perhaps one day I’ll be at the top of the Sam Ogden list and the other Sam Ogdens will look up to me as the Sam Ogden Googleganger Extraordinaire.
Hey, one can dream.
But the words for 2008 are just as fun, as you’ll see after the fold.
So, from the American Dialect Society website, here are the words chosen as 2008’s best words or phrases. There are several different categories, and I’ve included the runners up the societyÂ considered in addition to the winners.
WORD OF THE YEAR WINNER: bailout, the rescue by the government of companies on the brink of failure, including large players in the banking industry.
Other nominees for word of the year:
Barack Obama: Both names as combining forms in a large number of new words. A combining form is a word or part of a word that can be used as the root or basis of other words.
lipstick on a pig: An adornment of something that can’t be made pretty.
change: Not so much a buzzword as political wallpaper, background noise, and ambient energy rolled into one. The idea of discarding old ideas and methods seemed to underlie everything said by national political candidates.
shovel-ready: Used to describe infrastructure projects that can be started quickly when funds become available.
game-changer: In business and politics, something that alters the nature of a marketplace, relationship, or campaign. From sports â€˜something that changes a match or contest.â€™
WINNER: Barack Obama: Both names as combining forms.
text(ing), in driving while texting (DWT), the sending of text messages while conducting and automobile, and textwalker, a person who texts while walking.
bailout: The rescue by the government of companies on the brink of failure, including large players in the banking industry.
Palinesque: Pertaining to a person who has extended themselves beyond their expertise, thereby bringing ridicule upon a serious matter.
WINNER: recombobulation area: An area at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee in which passengers that have just passed through security screening can get their clothes and belongings back in order.
long photo: A video of 90 seconds or less. Used by the photo-sharing web site Flickr.
skadoosh: A nonsense interjection popularized by Jack Black in the movie Kung Fu Panda.
rofflenui: A blended New Zealand English-Maori word that means â€œrolling on the floor laughing a lot.â€
WINNER: moofing: From â€œmobile out of office,â€ meaning working on the go with a laptop and cell phone. Created by a PR firm.
First Dude: The husband of a governor or president.
bromance: A very close relationship between two heterosexual men.
WINNER: terrorist fist jab: A knuckle-to-knuckle fist bump, or â€œdap,â€ traditionally performed between two black people as a sign of friendship, celebration or agreement. It was called the â€œterrorist fist jabâ€ by the newscaster E. D. Hill, formerly of Fox News.
body-snarking: Posting pictures and commenting negatively on the bodies of the people in them.
fish pedicure: A cosmetic procedure in which fish eat the dead skin off the feet.
baby mama: From a manâ€™s point of view, a woman to whom he is not married and who is the mother of his child.
WINNER: scooping technician: A person whose job it is to pick up dog poop.
age-doping: The falsification of records to show that an athlete meets participation requirements for a sporting event.
thought showers: Coined by a British city council because the synonym â€œbrainstormingâ€ was said to be offensive to epileptics.
â€”MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEEDâ€”
WINNER: shovel-ready: Used to describe infrastructure projects that can be started quickly when funds become available.
Tw-, tweet-, twitt-Combining forms all connoting a relationship to Twitter, a free nano-blogging service.
[name] the [job]: Joe the Plumber, etc.
Phelpsian: Excellent in the fashion of swimmer Michael Phelps, who won eight medals and set seven world records in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
-licious: A suffix which connotes desirability or attractiveness of the thing whose name it is combined with.
â€”LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEEDâ€”
WINNER: PUMA: An acronym for Party Unity My Ass, used by Democrats who were disaffected after Hillary Clinton failed to secure a sufficient number of delegates. It was later said to stand for Party Unity Means Action.
nuke the fridge: To ruin a movie franchise through the arrogance of a successful producer or director.
-cation: Suffix connotating â€œvacationâ€ in blends like mancation, staycation, hurrication, evacucation.
â€”NEW CATEGORY: ELECTION-RELATED WORDSâ€”
WINNER: maverick: A person who is beholden to no one. Widely used by the Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin. Also in the adjectival form mavericky, used by Tina Fey portraying Palin on Saturday Night Live.
lipstick on a pig: An adornment of something that canâ€™t be made pretty.
hopey-changey: Derisive epithet incorporating Obamaâ€™s two main buzzwords (also dopey hopey changey).
hockey mom: A mother who spends a great deal of time and money aggressively abetting her childrenâ€™s interest in the sport of hockey.