Words of the Year 2000
AAllan at AOL.COM
AAllan at AOL.COM
Mon Jan 8 15:36:53 UTC 2001
Here's our preliminary announcement:
"Chad" perfused the voting for overall Word of the Year 2000 at the
American Dialect Society's meeting in Washington, D.C. January 5. In the
annual choice of the word or phrase that was most notable or prominent in the
year gone by, "chad" earned 43 votes, compared to just 6 for "muggle," not
only the Harry Potter term for a non-wizard but more broadly a mundane,
unimaginative person, and just 3 for "dot bomb," defined as "a failed
Before that final vote, Words of the Year were chosen in eight categories:
Most Outrageous was "wall humping," rubbing a thigh against a security card
scanner to allow access without the inconvenience of removing the card from
one's pocket. Other candidates were "starter castle," a dot-commer's first
home, and "McMansion," a big new home in incredibly bad taste.
Most Euphemistic was "courtesy call," an uninvited call from a
telemarketer. Other candidates were "Supreme Court justice," reflecting the
politics of the presidential election, and "klabokeys" (see below).
Most Likely to Succeed was "muggle." Other candidates were "m-commerce,"
buying and selling over a cell phone, and "WAP," Wireless Application
Most Useful was "civil union," legal same-sex marriage. Other candidates
were "bricks-and-clicks," a traditional business with a website, and "c.u.,"
to join a couple in civil union.
Most Creative was "dot bomb." Other candidates were "blobject," a product
like the iMac with curvilinear design, and "dot snot," a young dot-com
Most Unnecessary was "sudden loss of wealth syndrome," which pretty well
defines itself. Another candidate was "scootermania," obsession with
Least Likely to Succeed was "kablokeys," a hard-to-pronounce word used in
phrases like "It scared the kablokeys out of me." Other candidates were
"subliminable," invented inadvertently by George W. Bush, and
"malaphrophesizing," predictions phrased in malapropisms.
Most of the candidates for Word of the Year have been around for some time
but not particularly well known. "Chad" is a good example: Teletype operators
used the term more than 50 years ago, but only in the Florida recount did the
word become generally recognized. There are, however, some brand new words
every year. The winner in the Brand-Spanking New category was "unconcede," to
rescind a concession. Another candidate was "cell yell," loud talking on a
The American Dialect Society, an association of scholars who study American
English, has chosen Words of the Year since 1990. They are listed on the
Society's website, www.americandialect.org.
Words of the Year 2001 will be chosen in San Francisco on January 4, 2001.
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