2007 Word of the Year contest, are seven words that aren't quite dictionary material just yet. MW culls the list each year from among the most frequently requested words on its online dictionary, and throws in a few of the most requested and suggested words from the Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary -- where users can submit definitions for new words not contained in the pages of the official book (it's something like the Urban Dictionary).In 2004 it was blog. In 2005 it was integrity. Last year it was truthiness. This year, among the twenty words competing for Merriam-Webster's
Of the seven new words to make this year's short list, four owe their etymology to the web. Leading the pack: facebook. We just named Facebook as this year's Best Web BigCo for their undeniable landscape changing impact over the past 12 months. One thing we didn't factor, though, was their potential impact on the English language. Is it possible that Facebook could enter our lexicon the way Google has?
According to MW's Open Dictionary, "facebook" is verb meaning to use Facebook, or to add (as a friend) or look someone up on Facebook (i.e., "I facebooked Sarah today."). I wonder, what is the preferred way to look someone up on the web these days... googling or facebooking?
Other entrants that owe their derivation to the Internet: w00t -- spelled with the traditional double zero (an interjection used to express joy); cruft (apparently
coined popularized by 37 Signals front man Jason Fried to describe software elements that lack "style, quality, or relevancy," says the Open Dictionary); and linkability (a noun that quantifies the potential for web content to attract back links).
Voting for this year's list closed last Friday and the winner will be announced later in the month. My favorite word on the list? Quixotic. It's real, it's fun, and if played correctly it can score you 356 points in a game of Scrabble. Let's see "facebook" do that.
Update: Merriam-Webster has announced this year's winner: w00t. Facebook found itself in the familiar position of second place, and my beloved "quixotic" managed a fourth place showing.