Here are some words that dominated popular culture in Australia, the US and UK during the last year. Interesting for English, social science and popular culture classes.
The Macquarie Dictionary has just announced its Word of the Year 2013 and the winner is…..
infovore – (noun) a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices.
So, an infovore is like a carnivore, but hungers for information. Smartphones provide us with instant answers and many of us are addicted to this rush of instant information. Libraries – a great place for infovores!
firescape – (verb) to landscape an area with the possibility of bushfire in mind.
cli-fi – (noun) a genre of speculative fiction based on the premise that climate change will give rise to fundamental changes in the way humans live.
People’s Choice Award: onesie – a loose-fitting one-piece suit, gathered at the wrists and ankles. Please, can we just limit these to babies?
Other category winners:
Arts – fanfic
Colloquial – facepalm
Health – enabler
Politics – marriage equality
General interest – watch and act
Communications – churnalism
Social interest – generation debt
Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013
selfie – (noun) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. The frequency of the word selfie increased by 17 000% during the past year. It was first used in an Australian online forum in 2002. Spin-off terms include welfie (a workout selfie), belfie (a posterior selfie) and twofie (with 2 people).
Shortlist includes: binge-watch (watch multiple TV episodes); bitcoin (the digital currency); showrooming ( visiting a shop and then buying it cheaper online); twerk.
Global Language Monitor Top Word of 2013
The 14th annual survey of the English language across 5 continents and spoken by 1.83 billion people.
Top word is ‘404’, followed by fail!, hashtag, @pontifex, the Optic, surveillance, drones, deficit, sequestration, emancipate.
404 is the numeric code for failure on the internet, augmenting its original use as “page not found”.
Top phrase: toxic politics
Top name: Pope Francis.
Most understood word in the world: OK.
Top trending prefix: franken- (any human-instigated activity that spins out of control)
Number of words in the English language (1 Jan 2014 est.): 1 025 109.8 http://www.languagemonitor.com/category/words-of-the-year-woty/
American Dialect Society Word of the Year 2013
because x – used to introduce a noun, adjective or other part of speech. “Because” is now being used in new ways in informal online use and doesn’t have to be followed by “of”. Usage includes “because science”, “because reasons”, “because tired” and “because awesome”.
Other useful words: slash (and/or eg. come and visit slash stay), ACC (aggressive carbon copy used to undermine the email recipient eg. cc’ing the boss), robo sapiens (robots with human-like intelligence). http://www.americandialect.org/because-is-the-2013-word-of-the-year
Merriam-Webster’s (US) Word of the Year 2013
Based on the greatest increase in lookups over the past year, the top 10 words were not new words, but rather they were the words behind the stories in the news.
Word of the Year is science, followed by cognitive, rapport, communication, niche, ethic, paradox, visceral, integrity, metaphor.