The results are in. And, frankly, they’re sad (or at least some of them are). Every year, various dictionaries and websites announce their pick for “Word of the Year.” In case you haven’t heard, here are the words chosen to define 2010.
Let’s just get this first one out of the way, shall we?
New Oxford American Dictionary: “Refudiate.” Yup. Sarah Palin’s typo, word mash, creative quip, whatever you want to call it, caught the world’s attention and was chosen as Word of the Year by the dictionary published by Oxford University Press. Sigh. As one reader put it, “how flusterating.”
Global Language Monitor: GLM tracks words that depict the culture of the English-speaking world. For 2010, GLM chose “Spillcam,” referring to the webcam coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I agree with this choice. When I think of Spillcam, I immediately recall the dismay I felt as I watched the live feed of the environmental disaster that seemed to be unstoppable.
Catherine Jones: Well, it’s a tie. I can’t decide between Eyjafjallajökull and vuvuzela. The volcano that erupted in Iceland created all kinds of chaos for international travelers in April 2010. For me, personally, it was just fun to hear Glenn Demby try to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull when cursing the volcano for disrupting his trip to Ireland.
And while I’m not a soccer fan, I did try to watch the World Cup games on TV, only to quickly change the channel because I couldn’t ignore (or identify) what I thought was some horrid industrial noise. Of course, I—and millions of others—can now quickly identify the sound of a vuvuzela, a controversial plastic horn whose drone exceeds most national and international permissible exposure limits for noise. (Still, I wouldn’t mind getting one just to call in my cat.)
What words became part of your vocabulary this year?