2004 ADS Word of the Year
If you can stand one more article on words of the year, here is one more.
At its annual meeting on 7 January, held this year in Oakland, California, the American Dialect Society nominated and voted on its choice for the 2004 Word of the Year. In the meeting chaired by Wayne Glowka of Georgia State College and State University, chair of the ADS New Words Committee, and Allan Metcalf of MacMurray College, ADS Executive Secretary, the society decided which word was most notable or prominent in 2004.
Each year since 1990, in proceedings that are described by Metcalf as “serious, but not solemn,” the society chooses a “vocabulary item” (it need not be a word; phrases, affixes, and the like are eligible) that best represents the past year.
Word of the Year
This year the “word” selected as Word of the Year with 36 votes was red/blue/purple state, as used on the 2004 presidential electoral map. Other terms nominated were:
wardrobe malfunction, n., an unanticipated exposure of bodily parts (19 votes);
flip flopper, n., a politician who changes political stances; a waffler (11 votes);
mash up, n., a blend of two songs or albums into a single cohesive musical work (2 votes); and
meet up, n., a local special interest meeting organized through a national web site (2 votes).
The ADS also selects notable words in various categories. The word selected as Most Useful, with 47 votes, was phish, v., to acquire passwords or other private information (of an individual, an account, a web. site, etc.) via a digital ruse. Noun form: phishing. Other nominees for Most Useful were:
backdoor draft, n., the filling of military jobs through reactivation of former troops or through forced enlistment extensions known as stop-loss orders (16 votes);
fetch, adj., cool or stylish, from the movie Mean Girls (11 votes); and
blog- as a prefix or combining form in making other words: blogosphere, blognoscenti, blogarrhea (1 vote).
The selection for Most Creative had to go to a second ballot as no nominee won fifty percent of the vote. The term finally selected was pajamahadeen, n., bloggers who challenge and fact-check traditional media (36/52 votes). The runner-up was lawn mullet, n., a yard neatly mowed in front but unmowed in the back (29/27 votes). Other nominees were:
hillbilly armor, n., scavenged materials used by soldiers for improvised bullet-proofing and vehicle hardening, esp. in Iraq (11 votes) and
nerdvana, n., geeks really geeking out; collaborative geekiness (6 votes).
The selection of Most Unnecessary also had to go to a run-off ballot, with the winner being the oxymoronic carb-friendly, adj., low in carbohydrates (38/50 votes). The runner-up was erototoxin, n., a (nonexistent) chemical released in the brain of a person looking at pornography (17/26 votes). Other nominees were:
-based as in reality-based, faith-based (14 votes), and
stalkette, n., a female stalker (10 votes).
The winner of the Most Outrageous title truly deserved it. It was santorum, n., the frothy residue of lube and fecal matter which sometimes is the result of anal sex (39 votes). The term was coined by alternative media columnist Dan Savage after Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who publicly compared homosexuality with bestiality. Other nominees were:
Jesusland, n., the country which will be the rump US after the blue states have seceded and joined Canada (13 votes);
douche chill, n., interjection used to break a sudden silence after a verbal faux pas, from the TV show Arrested Development (9 votes); and
clone and kill, n., raising a crop of humans for parts (6 votes).
The selection for Most Euphemistic term of 2004 was badly sourced, adj., false (50 votes). Other nominees were:
wardrobe malfunction, n., unanticipated exposure of bodily parts, (15 votes);
angel, n., a soldier killed in action (7 votes); and
partner reduction, n., divorce or severing of a romantic relationship (2 votes).
Most Likely To Succeed
The word chosen as Most Likely To Succeed, on the second ballot ballot, was red/blue/purple states (21/46 votes). The runner-up was mash-up (23/22 votes). Other nominees were:
meet-up (16 votes);
orange revolution, n., the recent Ukrainian political crisis (5 votes); and
krunked, n., cool, crazy (2 votes).
Least Likely To Succeed
The winner in the final category was FLOHPA, n., collectively, the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, said to have been important in the 2004 American presidential election, from the postal codes for the three states: FL, OH, and PA (41 votes). The other nominees were:
holy toast, n., a grilled cheese with the image of the Virgin Mary, sold on eBay for $28,000 (23 votes);
luanqibaozhao, n., Chinese for a complicated mess (8 votes); and
security mom, n., a female voter said to vote according to the protection of her family (2 votes).
Copyright 1997-2015, by David Wilton