Date: Tue, 11 Jan 1994 01:46:45 EST

From: Allan Metcalf aallan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: New Words of the Year

In spirited discussion and vigorous voting late in the afternoon of Dec. 29,

at the American Dialect Society annual meeting in Toronto, members and

friends chose the following words and phrases as best typifying the year


1. Most useful: "thing" as a noun postmodifier, e.g. a Chicago thing, a Bla

ck thing, a PR thing, a Friday thing, a World Series thing. . . .

2. Most unnecessary: "mosa

ic culture" to describe a heterogeneous, multicultural society [Algeo nom.]

3. Most likely to succe

ed: quotative "like" - not the emphatic "like" of hip conversation of years

gone by (the

media confuse it with this), but "like" with a form of "be" to indicate

speech or th

ought: I'm like, This can't be happening. She's like, O yes it is. [R. Bailey


4. Most

outrageous: "whirlpooling" assault of a female by a group, usually male, in

a swimming pool

while they churn the water as a distraction [Algeo nom.]

5. Most amazing: "cybersex" sexual sti

mulation by computer transmitted stimuli [Algeo nom.]

6. Most imaginative: "McJob" (sp?) a g

eneric, unstimulating, low-paying job taken for lack of better opportunities

7. Most euphemistic: "s

treet builder" homeless person who constructs a shanty [Barnhart nom.]

8. Most unpronounceable: "

Jurassosaurus nedegoapeferkimorum" a new dinosaur [Barnhart nom.]

9. Word or phrase of the y

ear: "information superhighway" system of communication linking computers by

fiber-optic cable [so Algeo; I think the term is also used more broadly]

As you can see, our categories changed from pr

evious years; that's because our two expert nominators invented new

categories. We could have had

more, but I think we'll go back to just six categories plus an overall

word-of-the-year next time, because six-plus-one is about as much discussion

and voting as the group can comfortably stand.

Also, it

was not clear whether the WOTY could be one of the previous winners or had to

be different. For

'94, I think we should say that WOTY should be chosen from one of the six

category winners. So what do you think?

Preliminary suggestions for 1994 will be welcome for the end-of-January

Newsletter of the American Dialect Society.

Also, all ye who wish to attend our San Diego meeting in the finest

surroundings ever, you can make your reservations right now by phoning Le

Meridien San Diego (at Coronado), 619/435-3000, ask for American Dialect

Society rate of $95 for king or double-double; rate is good Dec. 26-Jan. 1

and for as much as 3 days before or after. Later announcements will explain

why this is such a good deal. But I mention this now because our block was

filled in Toronto and last-minute would-be fellow-trav

elers couldn't get space at our rates.

Is this maybe long enough for my first public service announcement? - Allan