It’s a universally acknowledged fact that if you are traveling through time, year end lists are your friend. They allow you to discover what year it is, as well as what happened in the previous 12 months, without attracting attention to yourself by asking such strange questions as ‘What year is it?’ or ‘Could you sum up the last year for me, in a nice top 10 list of soundbites or video clips?’, which is by far a newbie time traveler mistake.
Perhaps the most telling, if you read deep enough, are end of the year word lists. Not only do they tell us what was on our collective consciousness, they give insight into the happenings of the previous year.
For the past 35 years, Lake Superior State University released a list on New Year’s Day of the list of words they would like to ban for the coming year. The biggest source of publicity for LSSU, each year’s list is submitted by the public. In an effort to stay positive, i won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the list. Suffice it to say, they agree with me about refudiate, as well NPR’s Simon Scott concerning the phrase ’i’m just saying’. Check out the list for yourself, if you’d like: http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php
More interesting to me is the list compiled by the American Dialect Society. Their list is much more positive. For your enjoyment, the winners (with commentary).
Word of the Year
APP: I find it a bit amusing that the winner won’t be found in any dictionary apps on your smart phone.
NOM: Did you know it was based on the noise Cookie Monster makes when he destroys his food?
PREHAB: It’s descriptive of going into rehab to prevent a relapse. I like the second place better; the suffix -sauce, like in ‘lamesauce.’
REFUDIATE: Did anyone like this word?
GATE RAPE: The TSA didn’t make many friends this year. They had another entry on this list under Most Euphemistic: enhanced pat-down.
KINETIC EVENT: Who in the military thought calling a violent attack a ‘kinetic event’ would make it sound better? Also, ‘bed intruder’ had an entry in the last two categories. Google ‘Antoine Dodson’ if you have no idea what that’s talking about.
Most Likely To Succeed
TREND: Twitter is going mainstream, it seems. At least, accord to the ADS.
Least Likely To Succeed
CULTUROMICS: Try saying it. It’s awkward on the tongue. It’s supposed to describe a historical analysis of culture and language by Google. All it does it make my mouth hurt.
GLEEK: We can thank Dead Heads (fans of the Grateful Dead) for starting this trend of nicknaming the fans based on the source of the fandom.
So if you do happen to stumble through time and come across this list, recently published, remember the year it came from and you will reserve those crackpot looks for another time.