When the American Dialect Society convenes on Friday, it will nominate the already-tired “wardrobe malfunction” along with the stupid “Poddict” (frequent user of iPods) and “Google-aire” (one who gets rich by investing in Google) for its word of the year. It’s interesting to note that last year’s winner was “metrosexual,” which has since gone the way of metrosexuals, and 1994’s “cyber-” took 1993’s “information superhighway” out of town. On the other hand, the OED is fond of “chav,” an uneducated youth with ill manners and pricey brand-name clothes, and it has a chance for survival since previous OED selections have been “sudden death” (1927) and “fast food” (1951). And, hey, it’s the effing OED.
Double-Tongued Word Wrester feels that “chillax” will be the prize-winning word of 2005, like “chill” and “relax” aren’t virtually synonymous.
But the best time to name the word of 2004, however, may be toward the end of 2006, or 2009 and beyond. “It’s difficult to choose a word of the year in the year that you’re in,” says Erin McKean, the editor in chief of US dictionaries for Oxford University Press. “It’s like looking at pictures from 10 years ago, and you notice the flannel and the ripped jeans. At the time, it didn’t look to you like a real fashion trend.”
“Blog” has served its internship long enough now to be taken seriously, embraced, kissed on the lips, and assimilated into the language. It was the most searched-for word on Mirriam-Webster‘s online dictionary last year. In the LA Times piece it was described only as “the crude but catchy name for an Internet journal.” Is it a sign of acceptance that it’s already been forgotten that the word derives from “Web log”?