Grass station, locavore and w00t: we need a better word of the year for 2007

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 14 20:17:34 UTC 2007

At 12:53 PM -0600 12/14/07, Dennis Baron wrote:
>There's a new post on the Web of Language:
>Grass station, locavore and w00t: we need a better word of the year for 2007
>The Chanukah candles have all burned out, the sun is setting earlier
>each day, and the weather is wreaking havoc with vacation plans.
>These signs of the waning year tell us that once again it's time for
>the year-end word wrap. Just as reporters look back on the year's
>big stories, and photo editors pick the image that best captures the
>spirit of the year gone by, lexicographers see the winter solstice
>as the time to choose the Word of the Year, or the WOTY, as they
>like to acronymize it.
>Dictionaries almost never make news, but announcing the word of the
>year tends to draw the attention of reporters, and news stories move
>product. So Webster's New World Dictionary got a jump on WOTY season
>by announcing its word of the year choice, grass station, at the end
>of October. Critics immediately complained that there were still two
>whole months left in the year, plenty of time for something better
>to turn up. Plus grass stations, places to fill the tanks of
>biofuel-powered automobiles, don't even exist yet - they're still in
>the realm of science fiction. Nonetheless, the choice represents an
>improvement over last year's winner, crackberry, 'a person who uses
>a Blackberry or other hand-held phone/computer/pda obsessively.'
>Not to be outdone in their haste to make headlines and promote
>greener vocabulary, in November the word watchers at the Oxford
>American Dictionary chose locavore as their word of the year,
>proving once again Dr. Johnson's claim that lexicographers really
>are but harmless drudges....
Picky picky picky.  And hey, if the ADS has been choosing its WOTYs
at three-martini lunches all these years, that's a lot of retroactive
martinis I need served!


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