DALLAS, Dec 14, 2009 / — By this time you already know that the Oxford dictionary had chosen “unfriend” as the word of the year (WOTY), further proof that Facebook has become as ubiquitous as cable TV added to the fact that the social networking site has now over 350 million members, which by the way is bigger than the population of the U.S.
Defined as “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site as Facebook”, unfriend is classified as a verb.
As Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program noted, “[Unfriend] has both currency and social longevity. In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year.”
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.”
Actually, 2009 was a year for technology words. Below are the other words considered to be WOTY. As runners-up they will actually make it in the dictionary.
hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone
freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests
zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support
Politics and Current Affairs
Ardi – (Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009
birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate
choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother
death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed
teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)
brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations
green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations
ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles
deleb – a dead celebrity
tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman