Word of the year

The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen its Word of the Year: Unfriend.

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

“’It has both currency and potential longevity,’ notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program.”

Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

Other words in the running included sexting, zombie bank, and tramp stamp (“a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman.”)

(Via GalleyCat.)

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16 responses to “Word of the year

  1. Such a word as “unfriend” leaves the field wide open for a reinterpretation of the Scrabble rules!

    It is very Orwellian…..

  2. Loved “tramp stamp”, but to be fair, it would suggest that the ranks of tramps have become very swollen lately.

  3. Unfortunately, on too many young gals, the tramp stamp becomes muffin art!

  4. Hmm… I’d have thought defriend. Like deforest.

    But I suppose that might mean to strip someone of all their friends.

    Ah, English. So endlessly fascinating.

  5. Tramp stamps are also called “skag tags.”

  6. I never understood the “art” of tattooing. My mama did not raise me to be a billboard.
    DJ- Skag Tags is great! Thanks. Do you mind if I appropriate that one? ;>)

  7. So, if I were to trim my Facebook friends list by eliminating, say, all of the women with skag tags, would that make me unfriendly?

    And, while both “tramp stamp” and “skag tag” are amusing, they seem to unfairly label as unworthy all women with a certain type of tattoo.

    Can’t we at least come up with an equally all-inclusively unflattering nickname for men with a certain type of tattoo? Like “sleeve slime?”

    I welcome your suggestions.

  8. And I applaud your staunch defence of the female of the species, Ron!
    (Sleeve slime sounds too much like a temporary handkerchief)

  9. What about “Lout Label”, Ron?

  10. Sharon, I love “lout label,” though it feels a little antiquated. The discussion of this topic at work has yielded, based on the barbed wire bicep band, “barbed bastard.” And there is a general feeling, oddly from a couple of younger women with tattoos, that the word “douche” should be employed for these guys somehow. “Douche doodle?”

  11. STOP RIGHT THERE! What on earth does “douche” mean in America?
    Over here it tends to be associated with a woman using a bidet….

  12. All rightie, I’ll provide the transatlantic translation. In American idiom, “douche” is the shortened form of “douchebag,” which is itself early 21st century slang, meaning sleaze ball, slime bag, scum bucket, or, basically, a jerk.

    And in British usage, “lout” isn’t considered archaic, at least when attached, as it usually is, to the prefix “lager.”

    I hear that the Australian term is “Tart art.”

  13. (Goodness, I return to the blog after a couple-month hiatus and immediately lower the tenor of the discussion several notches. I’m so ashamed… What kind of a lager lout, douche bag am I?)

  14. Don’t worry Ron, I fear the blog was already beyond redemption before your return:-)

  15. Glad you’re enjoying damnation, Ken. 🙂

  16. It’s nice and warm down here.

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