The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year choice is based on actual searches on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Online Thesaurus. (And is a very different selection from Part One's New Oxford American Dictionary.) Last September, just a few days after South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst of “you lie” during President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, this winning word exploded to the top of the charts like a bloated belly on a dead frog on a hot blacktop parking lot of a Walmart in August.
The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year ... drum roll please:
Admonish (transitive verb), “to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner.”
In response to one of the year’s many contentious moments of buffalodung, the U.S. House of Representatives announced plans to “admonish” Rep. Wilson and his teabagging Tourettes. Somehow the word was understood to be a technical or even an official term, and kept on popping up in media coverage like a shiny new, three-dimensional special effect.
Filling out rest of the Top Ten Search List for their definitions in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:
Merriam-Webster's has been selecting words annually since 2003:
2008’s word was Bailout - “A rescue from financial distress.”
2007: W00t - “Expression of joy or triumph, or an obvious victory; abbreviation of 'We Owned the Other Team,' originating from computer-gaming subculture.”
2006: Truthiness - “Truth that comes from the gut, not books.” Popularized by Stephen Colbert; selected as Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster's online users.
2005: Integrity - “Firm adherence to a code; incorruptibility.”
2004: Blog - “A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer, short for Weblog.”
2003: Democracy - perhaps a dull word, but every bit as essential as it is dull.