Word of the Year season closed this weekend with the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society. As usual, major news stories dominated selections, but there has been a notable uptick in social media-related choices. It is interesting to note how hashtags are becoming more prevalent with #IndyRef as a common runner-up, and #dirtypolitics and #blacklivesmatter winning the title.
In the English-speaking world:
- Oxford Dictionaries selected ‘vape’, an abbreviation of vapour or vaporize, given its increase usage with the rise in electronic cigarettes.
- Merriam Webster selected ‘culture’, based on an increase in look-ups.
- Collins selected ‘photobomb’, made famous by monkeys and celebrities.
- The Australian National Dictionary Center (ANDC) selected ‘shirtfront’, meaning ‘in figurative use, to challenge or confront a person’.
- Dictionary.com selected ‘exposure’, noting its relationships to major news stories this year surrounding Ebola, hacking, and Ferguson.
- Cambridge Dictionaries noted several words that demonstrated a surge in look-ups including ‘devolution’, ‘cleavage’, and ‘asphyxiate’.
- Chambers Dictionary selected ‘overshare’: “beautifully British” with “a hint of understatement”.
- Geoff Nunberg selected ‘God View’, the term which Uber uses for their internal map of cars and customers.
- Ben Schott at The Takeaway listed several of the worst words of 2014.
- Dennis Baron selected ‘torture’: “it’s the epitome of what went wrong, not just with counterterrorism, but with everything.” He has already selected ‘autocorrect’ as 2015’s Word of the Year.
- Grant Barrett noted several buzzwords of 2014, including ‘basic’, ‘columbusing’, and ‘flee’.
- Gretchen McCulloch at Slate’s Lexicon Valley made an argument for emoticon of the year.
- And in a related note, Global Language Monitor selected the heart-shaped emoji.
- Public Address (of New Zealand) selected #dirtypolitics.
- National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) of the Philippines selected ‘selfie’ of Word of the Year, chosen among the 13 words submitted during the Sawikaan 2014.
- Nancy Friedman selected ‘Ebola’ (and see her full list of ADS submissions and notable words).
- Ben Zimmer spoke to NPR about some finalists, including ‘die-in’ and ‘platisher’.
- Lynne Murphy selected four UK-to-US and US-to-UK words of the year: ‘gap year’, ‘dodgy’, ‘bake-off’, and ‘awesome’.
- Grammar Girl selected ‘adulting’.
- Hugo used Twitter bots to find some of the top words of 2014.
- Wordnik has a list of 2014 nominations.
- Lake Superior State University released their annual ‘banishment’ list, including ‘bae’, ‘polar vortex’, ‘hack’, ‘skill set’, and ‘swag’.
- Wordspy selected ‘JOMO’ (joy of missing out).
- Baby Name Wizard selected ‘Adele Dazeem’ as Name of the Year. (Hat tip: Nancy Friedman)
- The American Name Society selected ‘Ferguson’ as Name of the Year.
- The American Dialect Society selected #BlackLivesMatter, also the winner of their new hashtag category, reflecting events in Ferguson and around the United States this year.
— Hugo (@hugovk) January 7, 2015
Around the globe:
- Festival XYZ selected ‘médicalmant’ (a relaxant drug) and ‘casse-crotte’ (bad meal with a cheap drink) as mots nouveaux pour 2014. (France)
- The Festival du mot selected ‘transition’ [jury choice] and ‘selfie’ [public choice] for Mots de l’année. (France)
- ‘Zei’ (税) is Kanji (Japanese character) of the year (poll sponsored by the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society). It means ‘tax’; a proposed sales tax has been in the news in Japan throughout the year.
- The Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (German Language Society) selected ‘Lichtgrenze’ (border of light), in reference to the celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- ‘Fremmedkriger’ (foreign fighter) was selected by Språkrådet (Norwegian Language Council).
- Genootschap Onze Taal (Dutch language association) and listeners of De Taalstaat (The Language State) voted for ‘Rampvlucht’ (disaster flight), in reference to MH17 and several other air disasters this past year.
- The Van Dale Dictionary selected ‘dagobertducktaks’ (a tax for the rich) as the Dutch Word of the Year. It’s named after Dagobert — better known as Scrooge McDuck in English!
- Van Dale is also behind the selection of ‘flitsmarathon’ for Flemish Word of the Year: “an extensive operation (marathon) of speed checks (flitsen) carried out by police”. Viewers of the Belgian children’s television network Ketnet selected ‘OMG’.
- Listeners of the Danish radio programme The Language Laboratory voted the app name ‘MobilePay’ as Word of the Year.
- Porto Editora selected ‘corrupção’ (the act of becoming corrupt) as Palavra do Ano 2014 through a vote on the Infopédia.pt site. There have been a number of prominent corruption cases in Portugal this past year.
- Fundéu BBVA (la Fundación del Español Urgente) selected ‘selfi’ (selfie) as palabra del año. (Spain)
- ‘Selfie’ is the Zingarelli’s selection for le parole dell’anno 2014. (Italy)
- ‘Fǎ’ (法), meaning law, was selected as Chinese character and ‘anti-corruption’ was selected as Chinese word in a popular poll conducted by the Chinese National Language Monitoring and Research Center and the Commercial Press.
- The readers of Lianhe Zaobao in Singapore selected 乱 (disorder or chaos) as the Chinese character of 2014. People overseas could also vote through Zaobao.com.
- Språkrådet (Swedish Language Council) released a list of 40 new words.
- Chinese character of the year in Malaysia is háng (航), meaning aviation, organized by Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Chinese Cultural Centre.
- In Taiwan, United Daily Newspaper organized a reader poll that selected 黑, meaning ‘dark’, following media coverage of the ‘dark side’ of industry, politics, etc.
Are there any words of the year that I missed? Any translations that can be improved? Please leave a comment below.