Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Word of the Year - Unfriend?

Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

That's... sort of depressing. I mean, that's the best we could come up with? (Granted, last year's was "hypermiling", which sounds like something you do on amphetamines. But "unfriend" sounds sullen and lazy and right at home in junior high.)

Anyway, here's one of the reasons why it was picked, given at the Oxford University Press (USA) blog:

It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!)

Interesting. But still... unfriend. Not that some of the runners-up are any better, though there are certainly several that have more character ('intexticated' is spot-on).

The OUP blog also gives us two "notable word clusters", one centered on Twitter, the other on Obama (there's something fitting about that). Read and enjoy!

Take a moment also to think about some of your favorite words. Two of mine are "brouhaha" and "chalice".