Feeds

Oxford American Dictionary dubs 'unfriend' Word of the Year

Facebook craze sacks 'teabaggers'

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Blame social networking for the latest cutesy-pie neologism tapped as the New Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year: unfriend.

Up against a range of tech-related buzzwords that included "netbook," "sexting," and "paywall," the North American verbal tome maker decided to celebrate the asocial side of online acquaintance-making:

Unfriend: verb; to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook.

"It has both currency and potential longevity," said Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford's US dictionary program in a written statement. "In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year."

She notes that most words with an 'un-' prefix are adjectives, such as unacceptable and unpleasant, although there are some familiar 'un-' verbs in circulation, such as uncap and unpack.

"But 'unfriend' is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of 'friend' that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal," she said. (Oh dear, must have been waiting some time to drop that one.)

Other finalists for New Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 word of the year included:

Hashtag: a # sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

Netbook: a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory

Paywall: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

Freemium: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

Funemployed: taking advantage of one's newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

Tramp Stamp: a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Birther: a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama's US birth certificate

And even stranger:

Teabagger: a person who protests President Obama's tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as "Tea Party" protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)

The latter interestingly doesn't touch upon the testicular wordplay involved with "teabagger," which has made it a favorite among those who support Obama's policies. Either the folks at the Oxford University Press don't get out much, or they're having a bit of fun at the Republican Party's expense. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Apple: No, China. iPhone is NOT public enemy number 1
Beijing fears it could beam secrets back to America
Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!
How many As? Reg hack's writing cops a shoeing
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.