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w00t voted 'Word of the Year'

In the US, we hasten to add

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The truly repulsive "w00t" has been crowned Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2007 - based on "thousands" of votes from visitors to the dictionary's website.

According to the official announcement:

This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak - an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team" - again stemming from the gaming community.

It gets worse: the verb "facebook" secured second spot, and Merriam-Webster kindly provides the following example: "I facebooked Sarah the other day and posted a comment on her wall, but she has yet to reply to my comment."

Strategy Boutiques, meanwhile, were represented in fifth place. We'll leave it to you to spot the offending term: "All the managers were locked up in a meeting for the all day blamestorming about the lost contract."

To be fair to our American cousins, they did slightly redeem themselves with the inclusion in the top ten of "conundrum", "quixotic" and "charlatan", in 3rd, 4th and 10th places, respectively. The agreeable "Pecksniffian" also made a welcome appearance at number eight. ®

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