Another late WOTY entrant: "waterboarding"

Thu Dec 27 04:10:47 UTC 2007

"Waterboarding" was indeed discussed in 2004, but I think it's fair to say that discussion has increased since then.  The seminal use seems to be from the New York Times, dated May 13, 2004, but apparently posted on the website the previous day and available online at (may be necessary to cut and paste this long URL):
<<In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as ''water boarding,'' in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.>>
John Baker


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Grant Barrett
Sent: Tue 12/25/2007 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: Another late WOTY entrant: "waterboarding"

On Dec 24, 2007, at 20:19, Towse wrote:

> For obvious reasons.

In interviews I've been saying that "waterboarding" is more the word
of 2004 than of 2007. That's when the practice first came to
widespread attention and that's when it was first discussed widely.
What we're hearing about it now is the tail end of what began then. I
did, however, include it on my ADS WOTY nominations list.

Grant Barrett
Double-Tongued Dictionary
editor at

The American Dialect Society - <> 

The American Dialect Society -

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