The American Dialect Society is now accepting nominations for the “word of the year” of 2009, as well as for the “word of the decade” for 2000-2009
What is the word or phrase which best characterizes the year or the decade? What expression most reflects the ideas, events, and themes which have occupied the English-speaking world, especially North America?
They will be considered for the American Dialect Society’s 20th annual word-of-the-year vote, the longest-running vote of its kind in the world and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It will be held in Baltimore on Friday, January 8, 2010.
The best “word of the year” candidates will be:
—new or newly popular in 2009
—widely or prominently used in 2009
—indicative or reflective of the popular discourse
The best “word of the decade” candidates will be:
—especially prominent or important throughout the years 2000-2009
—indicative of trends, fads, upheavals, groundswells, or sea changes which affected history, culture, or society throughout the years 2000-2009.
Multi-word compounds or phrases that act as stand-alone lexical items are welcomed, as well.
Sub-categories for “word of the year” include most useful, most creative, most unnecessary, most outrageous, most euphemistic, most likely to succeed, and least likely to succeed.
The vote is informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 120-year-old academic organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead, they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.
Past winners can be found on the society’s web site.