Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The word "bailout" has been named the 2008 Word of the Year, besting all others by a wide margin in look ups at Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.
With global financial markets taking on water like a once sea worthy, but now badly damaged, ship and governments around the world all too eager to try to keep the ship from sinking, "bailout" should not be a surprising selection.
But, perhaps a better analogy to describe what is currently going on around the world would be "festering open sore" and "band-aid".
Other contenders for this honor were the politically inspired "vet", "maverick", and "rogue", along with the more economically oriented and much more ominous "trepidation," "precipice", "turmoil", and "socialism" .
There still appears to be some lingering controversy after the American Dialect Society chose "subprime" as its word of the year in 2007, but Merriem-Webster chose "W00t", a popular expression in gaming circles.
The American Dialect Society's 2008 Word of the Year will be selected in January, and "bailout" is said to be a top contender.
According to this AP story, the previous Merriam-Websters Word of the Year winners were:
2007: W00t — "Expression of joy or triumph, or an obvious victory; abbreviation of 'We Owned the Other Team,' originating from computer-gaming subculture."Previous winners "truthiness" and "blog" make a good deal of sense as do "democracy" and "integrity", though they are far less exciting.
Selected as representative of new words, often whimsical and clever, emerging from new technology.
2006: Truthiness — "Truth that comes from the gut, not books." Coined by Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert; selected as Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster's online users.
Picked as national political debates questioned what constitutes "truth," and whether it is subjective. Deemed by Merriam-Webster as a playful term for an important issue.
2005: Integrity — "Firm adherence to a code; incorruptibility."
Picked as national political discourse centered on integrity, and lack thereof, in public servants on national and local levels.
2004: Blog — "A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. Short for Weblog."
Selected as it rocketed to prominence in midyear, driven by growth and popularity of blogs.
2003: Democracy — "Government by the people, especially: rule of the majority, or: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections."
But "W00t"? With zeros and not "o"s?