The American Dialect Society’s word of the year is not a word

#blacklivesmatter ( https://twitter.com/search?q=%23blacklivesmatter ) is word of the year.
Nearly 150 years old, the American Dialect Society
(ADS) was one of the first organizations to reflect
on 12 months of language use and
pronounce some word or phrase the most
important of the year. Made up of language
enthusiasts ranging from amateur to professional,
the society meets once a year to nominate and
vote for the title.
Think of it as the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards of
linguistics.

A new category was introduced this year: Most
Notable Hashtag. If treating Twitter hashtags as
words wasn’t enough linguistic controversy,
ADS overwhelmingly selected a nominee from
that category for its grand title of word of the
year.
The society voted late last week, and
#blacklivesmatter easily beat competitors like
“columbusing” and “bae.”

“While #blacklivesmatter may not fit the traditional
definition of a word, it demonstrates how
powerfully a hashtag can convey a succinct social
message,” said Ben Zimmer, chair of the society’s
New Words Committee, in an official statement
(http://www.americandialect.org/2014-word-of-
the-year-is-blacklivesmatter ) .
“Language
scholars are paying attention to the innovative
linguistic force of hashtags, and #blacklivesmatter
was certainly a forceful example of this in 2014.”
Here are the full results for all the categories,
including definitions provided by ADS. There are
some gems.

Word of the Year

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-word-of-the-year-and-the-winner-is-_chartbuilder2.png

#blacklivesmatter: hashtag used as protest over
blacks killed at the hands of police (esp. Michael
Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island).

bae: a sweetheart or romantic partner.
columbusing: cultural appropriation, especially the
act of a white person claiming to discover things
already known to minority cultures.
even: deal with or reconcile difficult situations or
emotions (from “I can’t even”).

manspreading: of a man, to sit with one’s legs
wide on public transit in a way that blocks other
seats.

Most Useful
https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-most-useful-and-the-winner-is-
_chartbuilder1.png

even: deal with or reconcile difficult situations or
emotions (from “I can’t even”).

budtender: a person who specializes in serving
marijuana to consumers, especially in legal
dispensaries.

Ebola: deadly virus that, in 2014, killed thousands
in West Africa.

robocar: a self-driving car.

unbothered: not annoyed or distracted.

Most Creative
https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-most-creative-and-the-winner-is-_chartbuilder.png

columbusing: cultural appropriation, especially the
act of a white person claiming to discover things
already known to minority cultures
manspreading: of a man, to sit with one’s legs
wide on public transit in a way that blocks other
seats.

misogynoir: misogyny directed toward black
women.

narcissistick (or narcisstick): pejorative term for a
selfie stick.

Most Unnecessary

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/category-most-unnecessary-and-the-winner-is-
_chartbuilder.png

baeless: without a romantic partner (lacking a
bae).

narcissistick (or narcisstick): pejorative term for a
selfie stick.

basic: plain, socially awkward, unattractive,
uninteresting, ignorant, pathetic, uncool, etc.
lumbersexual: fashionably rugged man who adopts
the stereotypical dress and facial hair of a
lumberjack.

Most Outrageous

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-most-outrageous-and-the-winner-is-_chartbuilder.png

second-amendment: v. to kill (someone) with a
gun, used ironically by gun control supporters.

God view: display mode used by ride-sharing
service

Uber providing employees with real-time
information on all users.

sugar-dating: pay-to-play relationship between an
older, wealthier person (sugar daddy/momma) and
a younger partner (sugar baby).

Most Euphemistic

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-most-euphemistic-and-the-winner-is_chartbuilder.png

EIT: abbreviation for the already euphemistic
“enhanced interrogation technique.”
conscious uncoupling: a divorce or romantic
separation by polite mutual agreement.

bye, Felicia: a dismissive farewell to someone
deemed unimportant.

thirsty: so hungry for a romantic partner as to
appear desperate.

13 Most Likely to Succeed

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-most-likely-to-succeed-and-the-winner-is-_chartbuilder.png

salty: exceptionally bitter, angry, or upset.
basic: plain, socially awkward, unattractive,
uninteresting, ignorant, pathetic, uncool, etc.
budtender: a person who specializes in serving
marijuana to consumers, especially in legal
dispensaries.

casual: a new or inexperienced person, especially a gamer (also in filthy casual).

plastiglomerate: type of stone made of melted
plastic, beach sediment, and organic debris.
selfie stick: a pole to which a smartphone is
attached to take selfies from a distance.

Least Likely to Succeed

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/
category-least-likely-to-succeed-and-the-winner-is-_chartbuilder.png

platisher: online media publisher that also serves
as a platform for creating content.

normcore: “anti-fashion” trend of adopting an
intentionally ordinary, inexpensive personal style
from cheap off-the-shelf brands.

pairage: term proposed by Utah legislator Kraig
Powell to refer to same-sex marriages.

Most Notable Hashtag

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2015/01category-most-notable-hashtag-and-the-winner-
is-_chartbuilder.png

#blacklivesmatter: protest over blacks killed at the
hands of police (esp. Michael Brown in Ferguson,
Mo., Eric Garner in Staten Island).

#icantbreathe: final words of Eric Garner, turned
into rallying

cry against police violence.

#notallmen: response by men to discussions of
sexual abuse, sexism, or misogyny that they see
as portraying all men as perpetrators
(countered by#yesallwomen, used by women sharing stories of bias, harassment, or abuse).

#whyistayed: explanation by women about staying
in abusive domestic relationships.

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: