WOTY 2009 nominations

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 8 21:31:24 UTC 2010

There is a problem with "teabagger" as well--two, actually. The term was
initially a self-description, as has been discussed here previously, and
was not considered derogatory. It did acquire this sense with
anti-teabaggers, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, "teabaggers" are not
anti-Obama per se. They are generally opposed to all government spending
programs, including, in particular, those favored by the Obama
administration such as the "stimulus package" (that alone should be
another WOTY candidate, or "stimulus"), "Obamacare" (any congressional
heath-care reform proposal--real or imagined--and perhaps another WOTY
candidate). Teabagger groups have evolved from being largely fringe
elements gathered from among Ron Paul and Lyndon LaRouche supporters, to
the latest incarnation of apparent fiscal ultra-conservatives within the
Republican party who target Republican candidates that they perceive as
insufficiently conservative. The former groups were largely close to
grass roots, although encouraged by some Fox News personalities, while
the latter are sponsored and organized by more traditional conservative
interest groups. The bottom line is that the terminology on both sides
has evolved with the social dynamics. Either way, the current WOTY
phrasing is inaccurate.

I am also not convinced that "tether" should be on the "least likely to
succeed" list. The expression is quite common. Again, the meaning is a
bit too narrowly defined. It is used as a euphemism for both wired and
invisible connections, e.g., "He's permanently tethered to his laptop."
You will also occasionally hear "umbilical cord" in the same meaning.


On 1/8/2010 3:56 PM, Baker, John wrote:
>          One error I noticed on the list was the definition of "public
> option," a candidate for WOTY and, inexplicably, for Most Euphemistic:
> "A government-run healthcare program, desired by some to be part of the
> country's healthcare reform."
>          Actually, "public option" refers to a government-run health
> insurance program, provided as an alternative to private health
> insurance programs.  It's the difference between the government paying
> the bills, as an insurance company does, versus actually providing
> health care, as the Veterans Administration does.  In a quick look, the
> earliest use I see is by Senator Ben Cardin (D - Md) in a Senate hearing
> on 1/25/2007:
>          <<The law requires that all of the Medicare D programs be by
> private insurance. There is no governmental insurance option.
>          Statistics indicate that a federal program in health has a much
> lower administrative cost than private health care plans. I'm curious as
> to whether we, if we offered a public option, whether that would have an
> impact on some of the cost issues. And one way in which we could perhaps
> bring down the cost of Medicare D, as we do, of course, on the other
> parts of Medicare where the government provides and private insurance
> can also provide.>>
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Benjamin Zimmer
> Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 8:16 AM
> Subject: WOTY 2009 nominations
> Greetings from Baltimore. Grant Barrett has posted the results of last
> night's nominating session for Word of the Year / Word of the Decade
> here:
> http://www.americandialect.org/2009-WOTY-Final-Nominations.pdf
> The final vote will take place this evening at 5:30.
> --Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list