Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 15:41:32 -0500
From: Allan Metcalf AAllan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: WOTY press release
For media inquiries I'm using the following press release. You may find it of
interest because it lists all our WOTY choices since the game began in 1990.
(Suggestions for improvement will be welcome.) - Allan Metcalf
'WEB' AND 'NEWT' CHOSEN
AS WORDS OF THE YEAR 1995
In a tie vote at the American Dialect Society's annual meeting Dec. 29, both
"World Wide Web" and "newt" were chosen as Words of the Year 1995.
"World Wide Web," also known as "the Web," "WWW," "W3," refers to the newly
prominent resource on the Internet. "It seems to us to be clearly the most
important of these items and the one that will have the greatest future
impact on both language and society," stated John and Adele Algeo, conductors
of "Among the New Words" in the American Dialect Society quarterly journal
American Speech, when they placed "World Wide Web" in nomination.
"Newt," meaning to make aggressive changes as a newcomer, but also found in
combinations like "Newt World Order" and "Newtspeak," reflects the new
prominence of Newt Gingrich, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Newt" was nominated by David Barnhart, editor of the new-words quarterly
Barnhart Dictionary Companion.
Preceding the final vote on New Word of the Year, members and friends of the
American Dialect Society, meeting at the Summerfield Suites in downtown
Chicago, also chose these winners in six particular categories:
1. Most Useful: "E.Q." (for "Emotional Quotient"), the ability to manage
one's emotions, seen as a factor in achievement.
2. Most Unnecessary: "Vanna White shrimp," large shrimp for the restaurant
3. Most Likely to Succeed: "World Wide Web" and its variants.
4. Most Original: "postal" or "go postal," to act irrationally, often
violently, from stress at work.
5. Most Outrageous: "starter marriage," a first marriage not expected to be
the last, akin to "starter home."
6. Most Euphemistic: "patriot," an old term used in the new sense of one who
believes in using force of arms if necessary to defend individual rights
against the government.
The American Dialect Society is the professional group for scholars who study
the English language in North America. Unlike other compilers of annual
lists, the Society neither condemns nor praises the words it chooses.
Members simply seek to identify words that express the distinctive
preoccupations of the preceding year. The chosen words or phrases do not
have to be brand new, but they have to be newly prominent or distinctive.
Discussion is far from solemn, because the words often reflect fads and
foibles of the past year.
This year's categories and nominees were determined by American Dialect
Society members and friends in an open meeting of the New Words Committee the
day before the final vote.
This is the sixth time the Society has voted on new words of the year.
1994 Word of the Year (tie): cyber, pertaining to computers and electronic
communication, and morph, to change form. Most Useful: gingrich, to deal
with government agencies, policies, and people in the manner of U.S. House
Speaker Newt Gingrich. Most Promising: Infobahn, the Internet. Most
Imaginative: guillermo, an e-mail message in a foreign language. Most
Euphemistic: challenged, indicating an undesirable or unappealing condition.
Most Trendy: dress down day or casual day, a workday when employees are
allowed to dress casually. Most Beautiful: sylvanshine, night-time
iridescence of forest trees.
1993 Word of the Year: information superhighway, the national and
international network of computers.Most Useful: thing premodified by a noun,
e.g. "a Chicago thing." Most Unnecessary: mosaic culture to describe a
multicultural society. Most Likely to Succeed: quotative like with a form of
the verb be to indicate speech or thought. Most Outrageous: whirlpooling,
assault of a female by a male group in a swimming pool. Most Amazing:
cybersex, sexual stimulation by computer. Most Imaginative: McJob, a generic,
unstimulating, low-paying job. Most Euphemistic: street builder, a homeless
person who constructs a shanty. Most Unpronounceable: Jurassosaurus
nedegoapeferkimorum, a new dinosaur.
1992 Word of the Year: Not! expression of disagreement. Most Useful:
grunge, a style of clothing. Most Unnecessary: gender feminism, belief
that sex roles are social, not biological. Most Outrageous: ethnic
cleansing, purging of ethnic minorities. Most Original: Franken-,
genetically altered. Most Likely to Succeed: snail mail, s-mail, mail
that is physically delivered, as opposed to e-mail. Most Amazing:
Munchhausen's syndrome by proxy, illness fabricated to evoke sympathy for
1991 Word of the Year: mother of all -, greatest, most impressive. Most
Unnecessary: massively parallel, many small computers yoked together. Most
Successful: in your face, aggressive, confrontational, flamboyant. Most
Original: molecular pharming, pharming, genetically modifying farm animals
to produce human proteins for pharmaceutical use. Most Likely to Succeed:
rollerblade, skate with rollers in a single row. Most Amazing: velcroid,
a person who sticks by the (U.S.) president, especially for photo
1990 Word of the Year: bushlips, insincere political rhetoric. Most
Useful: technostupidity, loss of ability through dependence on machines,
and potty parity, equalization of toilet facilities for the sexes. Most
Unnecessary: peace dividend, anticipated saving in military spending due to
improved relations with the Soviet Union. Most Outrageous: politically
correct, PC, adhering to principles of left-wing social concern. Most
Original: voice merging, the oral tradition of African-American preachers
using another's words. Most Likely to Succeed: notebook PC, a portable
personal computer weighting 4-8 pounds, and rightsizing, adjusting the size
of a staff by laying off employees. Most Amazing: bungee jumping, jumping
from a high platform with elastic cables on the feet.
# # #
[Words of the Year 1996 will be chosen during the Society's next annual
meeting January 2-5, 1997 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chicago. Media
representatives are welcome to attend. For further information contact
Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf.]