It's Official: NOAD Demeans Self for PR Gold (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 16 15:47:05 UTC 2010

You betcha.

Sarah Palin did not coin "refudiate," nor did it make its first appearance
in 2010.  While the word would be amusing regardless of which supercelebrity
it was associated with, it was widely seen as embarrassing to Palin, who
even admitted it was an error, albeit the kind we should "celebrate."

I have to assume that NOAD knew this, since the word has been discussed
right here.

The announcement came within hours of the long awaited premiere of _Sarah
Palin's Alaska_.  Coincidence?  Or a way to ride her coattails, get extra
publicity, and move dictionaries?  Friends of Palin get a warm fuzzy feeling
for NOAD and want to buy it; foes smile at the reminder and want to buy it.

Unlike "truthiness," "refudiate" wasn't coined to make a point. It's a gaffe
no matter who uses it. They're regarded, rightly or not, as blunderers.  So
it isn't a good word for a serious dictionary to lionize, if you ask me.  Of
course, the whole "word of the year" thing may just be a joke, universally
recognized as happy horseshit everywhere but here. But serious dictionaries
shouldn't be in the happy-horseshit business without an HH disclaimer.

My point, of course, was to slam NOAD's selection and, especially, its
crudely apparent motive.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list