M-W WOTY
Posted: 12 December 2017 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Merriam-Webster just came out with their Word of the Year. As usual, the choice is determine by what people actually look up.

I’ll be coming out with my list at the end of the month. Like last year, I’ll do a word for every month. I have a candidate for each month, except December—which I’ll pick over the next couple of weeks—and I’ll finalize the list at month’s end.

Even though I have candidates, suggestions are still welcome.

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Posted: 12 December 2017 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, if there must be a WOTY, that’s a good one.

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Posted: 12 December 2017 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I don’t understand why “feminism” is the WOTY. It has been used a lot since the early ‘70’s in the USA. I would think most people would know what it is from a very young age. Is it a strange word on the other side of the pond?

[ Edited: 12 December 2017 07:27 PM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 12 December 2017 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Eyehawk - 12 December 2017 07:22 PM

I don’t understand why “feminism” is the WOTY. It has been used a lot since the early ‘70’s in the USA. I would think most people would know what it is from a very young age. Is it a strange word on the other side of the pond?

1895 Actually according to the MW

The issue for them is the number of “look ups” this year.

[ Edited: 12 December 2017 09:36 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 13 December 2017 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, M-W bases their list on the words that are looked up the most online. They do, however, exclude the words that perennially top the lookup list, words like ubiquitous, love (which gets lots of hits around Valentine’s Day), cynical, apathetic, conundrum, albeit, ambiguous, integrity, affect/effect. So if a word suddenly appears among the most looked-up words, then it is a good candidate for their WOTY.

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Posted: 13 December 2017 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, M-W bases their list on the words that are looked up the most online.

I would think M-W base their list on the over-used-in-vogue words of the year by the media and everywhere else.

How many people aren’t familiar with the word, feminism,?

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Posted: 13 December 2017 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think requiring their WOTY to be a word that people weren’t familiar with until this year would be like requiring Time’s Person of the Year to be someone that people had not heard of before the present year.  It seriously misses the point.

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Posted: 13 December 2017 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Usually folks look up words they don’t know, or don’t know very well. That was what I meant. Could it possibly be young folks doing most of the research?

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Posted: 14 December 2017 12:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I think requiring their WOTY to be a word that people weren’t familiar with until this year would be like requiring Time’s Person of the Year to be someone that people had not heard of before the present year.  It seriously misses the point.

But if people have to look up a WOTY in a dictionary, or online, then it seems they’re not familiar with it.

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Posted: 14 December 2017 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Logophile - 14 December 2017 12:16 AM


But if people have to look up a WOTY in a dictionary, or online, then it seems they’re not familiar with it.

Or they’ve seen it in a context that makes them think, “I didn’t think it meant anything like that.”

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Posted: 14 December 2017 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Faldage - 14 December 2017 03:26 AM

Or they’ve seen it in a context that makes them think, “I didn’t think it meant anything like that.”

That’s exactly the case with feminism. There’s a lot of discussion over exactly what it means. Many people say things like, “I believe women should be treated equally, but I’m no feminist.” The word comes with a lot of political baggage, and I would suspect that most of the people looking it up are doing so to get an authoritative definition.

And feminism is very much an in vogue word, one that has been in the news this year, starting with the Women’s March on Washington in January right through to the #metoo campaign. It really is a very apt WOTY.

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