Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 18:35:21 -0500

From: Jim Crotty Monkmag[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Re: Nominations for Words of the Year

In a message dated 11/3/97 1:53:58 PM, you wrote:

Barry Popik sends these:

--RAZZI (as in paperazzi, videorazzi, stalkerazzi, chopperazzi, et al.)

The Word-of-the-Year need not be a "new" word during the year. The most

influential word of the year will do. "Ebonics" was two decades old, but was

still a WOTY contender last year. "Soccer mom" also was older than a year.

"Show Me the Money!" is the Phrase-of-the-Year. The movie JERRY MAGUIRE came

out for the Christmas season of 1996, but the movie's catchphrase became

popular in January 1997.

It's hard to argue with "azzi" (no doubt it's popularity as a negative word

due to sounding like "Nazi"), but there are some strong runner-ups....

"Indie" is still hanging around, especially in relation to films (though most

so-called "indie films" aren't "indie" at all), though indie magazines and

music are now useless concepts. A major consolation prize should be granted

to "don't go there," which was a big early 90's gay culture term that has

swept the nation, and, still maintains its popularity within gay culture,

despite its use by everyone from Ricki Lake and Whoopi Goldberg to those frat

boys rooting for the Seminoles. That expression has some legs. There's also

"it's a girl thing," and the use of "thing" in all sorts of different

scenarios (a holdover from George Bush--perhaps his major contribution to

American culture period), and, yes, "da bomb" (as in, "MJ is da bomb"). It's

been around awhile, but keeps hanging in there. It remains to be seen whether

it will have the staying power of "cool," or groooooovy" (given a huge boost

by Austin Powers) or "what---EVer" (the Val girl term I've heard used by

straight car salesman in Omaha and practically everywhere else in the

country). Other runner-ups include a slew of Buddhist terms ("nirvana,"

"satori,"), "boutique" (boutique cities, boutique beers), and, believe it or

not, "dude" (still strong after all these years, dude) and "kewl" (formerly

"cool"). I love this topic, and hope at the end we can ascertain an ADS Top

20 (akin to the top twenty in other "sports").... But I don't want to just

limit to words, but expand to influential expressions. Maybe we can also

vote for Most Improved, Biggest Loser, and more.

Oh, I've never received a very clear definition of a "soccer mom." Is she

Republican, Democrat? Democratic Centrist? Liberal Republican? All of the


Jim Crotty (aka Monk)

How to Talk American