Retiring the Tired “Word of the Year”

It’s time to retire the “Word of the Year” that various dictionaries publish each year — like “complicit” ( “youthquake” (Oxford), “feminism” (Merriam-Webster); and “fake news” (American Dialect Society, although their WTF Word of the Year, covfefe, isn’t too bad.)

As I understand it, the organizations have different criteria such as frequency, presumed significance, etc. But what are we learning of any real use by hearing that a lot of people are still using the word “feminism”?

Now, I’d make an exception for milkshake duck (“person or character that is deeply loved until problematic behavior is revealed or unearthed” coined in a 2016 tweet by Ben Ward, an Australian cartoonist), or Boaty McBoatface, which is more of a name than a word, per se.

So how about using the Word of the Year to enlighten us about actual new trends that onboard us to the new year?

My proposed list from 2017 starts with:

Doxing: searching for and publishing private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent. [from documents–>docs, originally “dropping dox” from 1990s hacker slang]

Dad jokes: corny pun-filled jokes; the most embarrassingly type of bad joke. Characteristics: “a joke told by a father, or of the type associated with fathers, especially one which is (1) hackneyed, embarrassing, or unoriginal (2) usually involving wordplay and (3) is told repeatedly, even to people who have already heard it.” — see Grammar Girl “A guy went to the dentist for false teeth and only had a dollar so they gave him a buck tooth.” (My dentist brother is fond of this one though he won’t admit it.)

Cell phone strut* ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯↓

 Scaramucci (noun) a time measurement typically referring to a 10-day span. Neatly fills the gap between a “week” and a “fortnight.”

Normie: someone not in on the joke (typically used by “alt-right” folks)

Red-pill (verb): To red-pill someone is to explain the truth to them and open their eyes, to make the decision to understand reality, “find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.” (reference to The Matrix, also typically an alt-right term: “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth”)

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out, e.g., the fear that if you don’t go to a wild party you’ll miss out on something great…even if what you’re actually doing (attending your BFF’s wedding reception on a beach in Bali) is obviously the hotter deal.  (“BFF” is now officially retired as well.) “John’s fomo got the best of him and he ended up at the party.”

Perma-cold**: a seasonal cold that just keeps going well beyond any reasonable length of time — like the one I have now.

*For some reason, the strut just doesn’t seem to work as well with men…



** OK, I just made up perma-cold to make you feel sorry for me.


6 comments on “Retiring the Tired “Word of the Year”

  1. says:

    Dint werk 😊

  2. My favorite is the “Cell phone strut.” I watch it everywhere!
    Definitely a body movement that women work best.

    • jveeds says:

      Yeah, I wonder why? On the campus where I work, I often see students walking along, engaged with their phones, but not so much “strutting,” either among the females or males. I’d say 50-60% of the students are walking with their phones up, though rarely in the early mornings, for some reason, when it’s still a bit cold here in Phoenix.

  3. jayni wilson-sickler says:

    Don’t know why, but I’m glad that most students (male and female) are holding their phones upward. I’ve long been concerned about an abundance of neck issues developing among younger folks!

    • jveeds says:

      Are they holding them upward? I think I’ll plant myself at a convenient spot on my campus and do a little survey. The one thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot fewer “phone walkers” (to coin a phrase) at 7:45 a.m. than at, say, 11 a.m. Or maybe there are just fewer people. :>)

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