The year in words

It's been an interesting year in words, methinks. Which words are in, out and overused say so much about our culture and our times.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word of the year is bailout (any guesses why?). The runners-up held no surprises, unlike in 2004. On the other hand, Lake Superior State University says "bailout" is on 2009's banished words list.

Britannica Blog takes on those words dropped from the Oxford Children's Dictionary. They do have a point:
But let’s think for a moment about how a child might actually use one. Would the average child of today be likely to look up “blog,” “chatroom,” “celebrity,” “voicemail,” “broadband,” “MP3 player,” or (in Britain and Europe) “Euro”? Adding these to the book, as Oxford has now done, is just the lexicographer’s (or, more likely, his marketing manager’s) way of saying “look how up-to-date, not to say hep, we are!” Dictionaries are more likely to be used to look up words with which one is unfamiliar, wouldn’t you have said? Words that a thoroughly modern child is less likely than his grandparents to have encountered, words like “ivy,” “goblin,” “sin,” “aisle,” “heather,” “empire,” “monarch,” “mistletoe,” “abbey,” “willow,” “chapel,” “bishop,” “devil,” or “marzipan.” All of the latter have been removed from the dictionary.
It's true, isn't it? I don't look up words I know, I look up words I don't know. Can't imagine children are any different!

Whichever words you choose to use (or not use), have a verbose 2009.


Aravis said...

True. How sad! May your New Year be equally verbose. :0)

Ian said...

Happy New Year too. Bailout was an obvious and interesting pick by Webster.

Being the techie that I am, I picked Social Media haha. :)