Thursday, December 13, 2007

M-W Word Of The Year

Each year the major English dictionaries declare a "word of the year," a word that perhaps has just recently entered our vocabulary, or an older word that for some reason has been critical in popular usage and culture. Oxford selected locavore a few weeks ago, and yesterday Merriam-Webster decided on theirs. W00t.

Um, what?

This "word," which started in gaming culture, uses TWO ZEROES instead of two ohs. This makes it not a word. We wouldn't say, 4ever, and have it count as a real word. Though 4ever, of course, is an abbreviation, which disqualifies it anyway, and w00t is, well, what is it? I've only seen it used in the context of "so and so did this, it's great! w00t!" Was it necessary to create something in addition to "woo," which I think is much more acceptable, because it doesn't use numbers. It would suffice in any sentence in which w00t is used, and it also has the distinction of being a real word, although in a different context. Note that "woo" in the other usage is not in the dictionary.

Here's a list of the past M-W words of the year.

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