Monday, January 8, 2007

428.1 Vocabulary: What's In & What's Out for the New Year

PLUTOED (demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto) has been voted as the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society in its 17th annual top word list. The other contenders for top word included YouTube (as a verb) and flog (a fake blog created to promote a product or TV program.) Climate canary (an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon) was the overall runner up.

The sports world contributed a close cousin in PLUTOIZED beginning back in late summer when a few sportscasters referred to teams or players in danger of losing their standings or positions as being plutoized.

So Pluto may be out as a planet, but will "live on" in other ways! Another case of making lemonade out of lemons, perhaps?

At the same time, Lake Superior State University issued its annual List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness. This small public university has been publishing this list of worn out words since 1976. Included on this year's list is TRUTHINESS, a 2005 American Dialect Society winner, and originally popularized by The Colbert report. Other tired terms include I-ANYTHING, ARMED ROBBERY/DRUG DEAL GONE BAD (when do they go good?), CHIPOLTE, and combined celebrity names such as TomKat and Bennifer...just plain overdone! My personal favorite banned word AWESOME made the list as well. I haven't used it and "neat" for years!

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