You can call it the hedonistic hype of hyperbole, a mêlée or metaphors, the clash of colossal lexicons, but each year competing Dictionaries select a “Word of the Year,” so far in 2008 we’ve seen the New Oxford American Dictionary choose the word “hypermiling” … but today we listen in awe to a new utterance ...
Ladies and Gentlemen, in this corner! Weighing in at three consonants and four vowels … a Noun … The Merriam-Webster‘s Dictionary pick for the 2008 Word of the Year:
Bailout is defined as "a rescue from financial distress."
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year selection began in 2003. In their freshman year they settled on, in my opinion, a slightly anemic choice: “Democracy.” However, number two on the list in ‘03 was “Quagmire,” a favorite word of mine and patron to my mindset and lifestyle. But in each year since, the Merriam-Webster selection has often proven to be excellent and playful. The 2004 word was “blog.” In 2006 the word of the year was “Truthiness” coined by Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, the definition: “Truth coming from the gut, not books; preferring to believe what you wish to believe, rather than what is known to be true.” And last year's surprise choice included a couple of zeroes in its spelling: “w00t,” meaning “An Expression of joy after triumph or for no reason at all."
Merriam-Webster picks its Word of the Year by considering the number of online searches for an unusual term and how much that word has slipped into everyday conversation. Bailout hit the top of the Google charts after this year’s unprecedented financial meltdown and apocalypse. $700 billion worth of “what the hell” compelled millions of web surfers to lookup the word within just a few weeks of the September Banking bailout announcement.
Several of the terms in the Merriam-Webster’s Top Ten were the direct result of the other big news story of the year, the Presidential campaign: “maverick,” “bipartisan,” “rogue,” “socialism,” and “vet.”
Here are Merriam-Webster’s Top Ten Words for 2008:
1 - Bailout (noun): a rescue from financial distress
2 - Vet (transitive verb): to evaluate for possible approval or acceptance
3 - Socialism (noun): any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
4 - Maverick (noun): an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party
5 - Bipartisan (adjective): marked by or involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two major political parties
6 - Trepidation (noun): timorous uncertain agitation
7 - Precipice (noun): a hazardous situation
8 - Rogue (noun): a mischievous person
9 - Misogyny (noun): a hatred of women
10 - Turmoil (noun): a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion