Feeds

Oxford American Dictionary dubs 'unfriend' Word of the Year

Facebook craze sacks 'teabaggers'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.