Unfriend Is New Oxford Word of the Year


The New Oxford American Dictionary is the self-appointed guardian to all things English, particularly when words have a decidedly American twist to them. And that is why the esteemed dictionary routinely updates itself to include new words that have found their way into our daily speech, choosing one of those to represent what it calls its “Word of the Year.”

dictionaryThis year’s winner is a word that everyone who frequents social media sites is familiar with – unfriend. That word has been popularized through Facebook where your followers are friends and any of those people who choose to no longer follow you are unfriending you. Likewise, you can unfriend them too.

Loopy Lexicon

Language purists cringe whenever a dictionary promotes pop culture terminology. Some believe that such words debase the language while others expect newly included words to eventually fade from our lexicon, quietly dropped by the dictionary in subsequent years when the term falls out of favor.

Thankfully, Oxford does carefully weigh which words win its coveted “Word of the Year” award, as some of the runner ups do their best to raise eyebrows. Among the words considered, but falling short were:

Choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother. In other words, this is a woman who purposely chooses to become a parent without aid of a father beyond conception.

Deleb – a dead celebrity. Michael Jackson would qualify as 2009’s deleb.

Ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles. I must admit that this word escapes me. It seems that a number of British communities quality, although I did learn that Leonardo DiCaprio has his eyes set on building such a community in Kansas.

Funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests. Likely, the person who can do this has a healthy severance package and savings to fall back on.

Sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone. This is one trend that is causing much worry for many parents and school administrators.

Fav This Word

Not mentioned by the New Oxford American Dictionary are ways in which people can fav a certain word to give it a chance to become next year’s word of the year. I can see it now: teams of Twitter and Facebook users conspiring to push new words forth, perhaps splicing and dicing two words such as Obama and mania to create obamania, one of the terms fashioned as our new president rose to power.

Yes, check Twitter’s trending topics to see what is catching on and do your part to reshape our language to reflect today’s pop culture terms.

Adv. — The language of love can be expressed in some many ways. At Christmas, we choose to bestow gifts to loved ones, personal selections that we believe will be warmly received. Of course, keeping track of what you give requires a Christmas list while choosing what a parent or sibling wants may require help from a variety of sources online and offline.

Photo Credit: John Boyer


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Categories: Fun News