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Founded in 1889, the American Dialect Society is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it. ADS members are linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, historians, grammarians, academics, editors, writers, and independent scholars in the fields of English, foreign languages, and other disciplines. The society also publishes the quarterly journal American Speech.
The American Dialect Society began choosing Words of the Year in 1990. This year's winners are listed below. A full account of the previous choices may be found on the American Dialect Society’s website.
Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year by American Dialect SocietyEdit
In its 16th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted truthiness as the word of the year. Recently popularized on the Colbert Report, a truthless show that God sponsors, truthiness refers to the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. As Stephen Colbert put it, “I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart.” Other meanings of the word date as far back as 1824, some say. But in the gut of Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, it was invented by god and given to him by the baby Jesus.
Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year. The election is serious, based on members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from solemn. Presiding at the Jan. 6 nominating session was Professor Wayne Glowka of Georgia College and State University, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. He conducts the column “Among the New Words” in the society’s quarterly journal American Speech.
The number after each nomination is the number of votes it received. Voting totals are not identical because the number of voters changed for each category.
Word of the YearEdit
WINNER truthiness: the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. First vote: 32. Run-off: 66
Katrina: all Katrina-related words. First vote: 36. Run-off: 22
podcast: a digital feed containing audio or video files for downloading to a portable MP3 player. From the brand name MP3 player iPod + broadcast. 2
intelligent design: the theory that life is could only have been created by a sentient being. Often acronymized and pronounced as ID, the theory is being pushed by proponents of creation science as a necessary part of school curricula alongside explanations of evolution. 5
refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. 2
Cruiselex: Cruiselex is not itself a nominated word, but the term refers collectively to all the other Tom-Cruise-related words of the year in the special category below. 0
Heck of a job: catch phrase coined by President Bush. 5
brown-out: the poor handling of an emergency. 1
disaster industrial complex: the array of businesses which make profit from by providing emergency services, especially those that result from no-bid government contracts. 3
WINNER podcast: a digital feed containing audio or video files for downloading to a portable MP3 player. From the brand name MP3 player iPod + broadcast. 49
truthiness: the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true. Stephen Colbert: “I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart.” 25
lifehack: to make one’s day-to-day behaviors or activities more efficient. Also as a noun. Lifehacks apply the make-do, can-do, what-will-it-do attitude that originated in computer hacking. 4
patent troll: a person or business, especially a lawyer, who applies for or owns a patent with no intention of developing the product but with every intention of launching lawsuits against patent infringers. 12
WINNER whale tail: the appearance of thong or g-string underwear above the waistband of pants, shorts, or a skirt. Also known as a longhorn. First vote: 44. Run-off: 56
pinosaur: a very old Wollemi pine tree near Australia’s Blue Mountain. 6 muffin top: the bulge of flesh hanging over the top of low-rider jeans. 25 flee-ancée: runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks. First vote: 15. Run-off: 38
WINNER K Fed: Kevin Federline, Mr. Britney Spears. 48 man date: when two heterosexual men engage in an activity together without romantic implications. 10
pope-squatting: registering a domain name that is the same of a new pope before the pope chooses his new name in order to profit from it. 2
reverse logistics: a process by which you de-supply a warehouse or distribute stored merchandise. 34
WINNER crotchfruit: a child; children. Perhaps inspired by the expression the fruit of one’s loins, this term began among proponents of child-free public spaces, but has since spread to parents who use it jocularly. 56
Whizzinator: a trademarked urinating device using a realistic prosthetic penis and synthetic urine in order to pass a drug test. 10
Bumper Nutz: fake testicles hung from the rear end of a vehicle. 8
Ex-Lax option: nuculer option; immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. 0
intelligent design n. the theory that life is could only have been created by a sentient being. Often acronymized and pronounced as ID, the theory is being pushed by proponents of creation science as a necessary part of school curricula alongside explanations of evolution. 22
WINNER internal nutrition: force-feeding a prisoner against his or her will. First vote: 33. Run-off: 51
holistic practitioner: a prostitute. First vote: 23. Run-off: 36
VBIED: a car bomb. An acronym for Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device. Sometimes pronounced vee-bid or vee-bidder. 12
holiday tree: a Christmas tree. 6
extraordinary rendition: the surrendering of a suspect or detainee to another jurisdiction, especially overseas. 12
man date: when two heterosexual men engage in an activity together without romantic implications. 0
Best Tom-Cruise-Related Word: CruiselexEdit
WINNER jump the couch: to exhibit strange or frenetic behavior. Inspired by the couchbouncing antics of Tom Cruise on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show in May. It derives from an earlier term, jump the shark, meaning to (irretrievably) diminish in quality; to outlast public interest or popular support. 69
TomKat: the celebrity couple of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. 1
Cruisazy: crazy in the manner of Tom Cruise. 5
Most Likely to SucceedEdit
WINNER sudoku: a number puzzle in which numbers 1 through 9 must be placed into a grid of cells so that each row or column contains only one of each. The current craze started in Japan, caught on in the U.K. in 2004, and then exploded in the U.S. in 2005. 23, 43
podcast: a digital feed containing audio or video files for downloading to a portable MP3player. From the brand name MP3 player iPod + broadcast. 31, 33 Cyber Monday: the Monday after Thanksgiving, purported to be the day that most online shopping takes place. 10
folksonomy: a taxonomy created by an ad hoc group of non-experts. From folk + ta(x)onomy. 11
Least Likely to SucceedEdit
WINNER pope-squatting: registering a domain name that is the same of a new pope before the pope chooses his new name in order to profit from it. 55
metrospiritual: an unspecific, cosmopolitan, and expansive view of spirituality. Inspired by metrosexual. 9
Cruiselex: Cruiselex is not itself a nominated word, but the term refers collectively to all the other Tom-Cruise-related words of the year in the category above. 9 Brangelina: the celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. 6
GSAVE: Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. 14
Not all words chosen for a particular year are destined to become permanent additions to the vocabulary. Y2K in 1999 and chad in 2000 are examples of prominent terms that faded quickly. An explanation of which words are likely to succeed may be found in Predicting New Words: The Secrets of Their Success by Allan Metcalf, published in 2002 by Houghton Mifflin.