Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 15:41:32 -0500 From: Allan Metcalf 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 market. 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. Previous choices: 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 the caregiver. 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 opportunities. 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.]