January 07, 2007

to pluto, with love

The American Dialect Society has chosen its words of the year 2006. I'm very happy to report that the winner is not a word related to politics or celebrity watching. What is more, it is a passive participle (for reasons not to be dwelled on here, anything passive gets my special attention):
In its 17th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted* “plutoed” as the word of the year, in a run-off against climate canary. To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet.
Other winners:
  • "Most Useful": Climary canary, "an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon."
  • "Most Creative": lactard, "a person who is lactose-intolerant"
  • "Most Euphemistic": waterboarding, defined as "an interrogation technique in which the subject is immobilized and doused with water to simulate drowning."
  • "Most Likely To Succeed": YouTube (verb), "to use the YouTube website or to have a video of one's self be posted on the site"
Would you like to compare them to last year's words of the year? Truthiness became quite popular, but I still like "to jump the couch" best, although I usually get blank stares when I use it.

My own choice for the most useful word of the year 2006 would probably have been permalink (not in any of the major dictionaries yet) - 2006 was a year in which I began looking for them for this blog and towards the end of which the NY Times finally made them available, thereby recognizing the benefits of having their articles discussed by bloggers. Call it the unplutoing of blogs.

*You can read more about the procedure [from the 2005 meeting of the ADS] here.

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