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December 21, 2011

Word Of The Year?

Every year about this time, various groups think and talk about the words that have emerged or gained new meaning in the year just ending. In a previous post...

...I mentioned that the word "Occupy" was a nominee for the word with the most pungent and relevant meaning for the year 2011.

A panel of editors, lexicographers and others at Dictionary.com have chosen their word of the year for 2011. The word they think sums up our time is "Tergiversate".

It is pronounced "ter-JIV-er-sate", and means “to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.”

That certainly seems to sum up at least one aspect of our times, don't you think?

Another way to measure a word's impact is to keep track of how many times it has been looked up. "Pragmatic", for example, is 2011's most looked-up word on Merriam Webster site (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Few people would need to look up "Occupy" even though it might have more cultural and historical impact.

"Tergiversate", no matter how useful, is just not a word I expect to ever use - or even hear - in a normal conversation; in fact before this article, I had never even heard of that word before.

This is my bias I know, but I believe the word of the year should be a word that actually get used. Somehow I don't think, however useful it might be, "Tergiversate" will ever catch on.

Got any thoughts about what you think should be the word of the year? Send us any relevant links or other resources that you think any teachers, students or even just regular people might find interesting or useful.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, USA and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA). And, as much as Morf loves writing this blog, he is always open to other opportunities either blogging or teaching. You can contact him at mmorf@mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at December 21, 2011 09:14 PM


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