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Word of the Year 2012

The American Dialect Society has chosen its word of the year. This year, the winner was “hashtag”, “a word or phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#), used on Twitter to mark a topic or make a commentary”. In other categories:

  • Most Useful was “-(po)calypse, -(ma)geddon”, suffixes used to describe various (nearly) catastrophic events.
  • Most Creative was “gate lice”, a crowd of airline travellers congregating near a gate so they can board the plane.
  • Most Unnecessary was “legitimate rape”, that term used by a misogynist who I’m fucking glad isn’t a US Senator.
  • Most Outrageous was “legitimate rape” (looks like we have a double winner).
  • Most Euphemistic was “self–deportation”, the act of encouraging undocumented immigrants to return home.
  • Most Likely to Succeed was “marriage equality”, namely same–sex marriage. As I and others have been using this term for years, I’d say that it’s already well on its way to success.
  • Least Like to Succeed was “phablet”, an electronic device midway between a phone and tablet in size.
  • Election Words was “binders (full of women)”, as used by Mitt Romney to describe the resumes of women he considered hiring when he ran Massachusetts.

In a companion vote, the American Name Society (the ADS’s sibling organization) chose “Sandy” (after the hurricane) as its Name of the Year.


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