Sunday, January 07, 2007

'Plutoed' Voted Word of the Year by American Dialect Society

In its 17th "word of the year" contest, the American Dialect Society chose "plutoed":

"To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."
The 117-year-old organization includes linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, and independent scholars.

There were a number of law-related terms considered for this 2006 edition, including:
  • data Valdez: an accidental release of a large quantity of private or privileged information. Named after the 1989 oil spill by the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
  • waterboarding (winner in the most euphemistic category): an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning; reported to be used by U.S. interrogators against terrorism detainees.

Earlier Library Boy posts about word lists include:

  • "Podcast" Named Word of the Year, "Blog" Chosen as Word to be Banished (December 12, 2005): "The Oxford American Dictionary has selected podcast as their word of the year. Among the runner-ups were: bird flu, IDP (internally displaced person), IED (a kind of bomb), persistent vegetative state, rootkit, and sudoku."
  • Banished Words List 2006 (January 2, 2006): "Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste.Marie (Michigan) is continuing its tradition of compiling an annual Banished Words List, or 'List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness' first launched in 1976'."
  • American Dialect Society Words of the Year 2005: Legal Expressions 'Patent Troll', 'Extraordinary Rendition' Make List (January 11, 2006): "A few other law-related terms scored highly in the 'most euphemistic' category (hmmmm, I wonder why): 'internal nutrition: force-feeding a prisoner against his or her will' and 'extraordinary rendition: the surrendering of a suspect or detainee to another jurisdiction, especially overseas' (in order to be tortured by a friendly dictatorship with less regard for the niceties of courts and a legal defense)."
  • Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2006 (December 12, 2006): " 'Truthiness', a term coined by the American satirical TV show The Colbert Report, has been chosen as the word of the year by dictionary maker Merriam-Webster. Truthiness is defined as 'truth that comes from the gut, not books", or "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true'. It was the American Dialect Society word of the year in 2005."
  • Banished Words List of 2006 (January 1, 2007): "It has been a tradition since Jan. 1, 1976 for Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste.Marie, Michigan to publish its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. The list is published every New Year's Day... Among the choices for 2006 are: Combined celebrity names like Brangelina; Awesome ; Gone missing ; Now playing in theaters; We're pregnant; Drug deal gone bad; i-Anything"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 2:39 pm

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