Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Word of the Year– Obama-nation, you betcha, tree sitters, Dumpster Muffin?

By kbender
Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 9:53 am in Politics, Uncategorized.


 The American Dialect Society is considering its nominations for 2008 word of the year. Past winners have included “red and blue state,” “subprime” and “Plutoed.”

This year, the individual nominations from the public so far are:”change,” “bailout,” “maverick,”  “to vet; vetting,” “Obama nation”/”Obomination”/”Obamination” (treated as one item), “game-changer,” “hope,” and “Obamamania,” “Obamanos” and “you betcha,” “Joe Six-Pack” and “meh.”

What if there was a word of the year in Berkeley? What would it be? “tree sit,” “Pink Ladies,” “unwelcome intruders,” “Dumpster Muffin,” “entombed,” “sustainable,” “public commons,” “inappropriate street behavior,”  “carbon footprint, ” “green corridor,”  or “solar financing.” Help me out here.


Anyway, the real “word of the year” should be new or newly popular in 2008, widely or prominently used in 2008 and indicative or reflective of the national discourse, contest organizers said.

Grant Barrett, chair of the American Dialect Society’s New Words Committee, knows a lot about words. He is co-host of the nationwide public radio show “
A Way with Words” and the editor of the “Double-Tongued Dictionary.”


He came up with a few of his own nominees this year, including “bail out,” “fish pedicure,” “caribou Barbie,” “driving while texting,” and “hockey mom.”

 His full list with definitions are posted here:  http://americandialect.org/Barrett-2008-WOTY-Nominations.pdf


The word of the year will be chosen next week in San Francisco and it’s not too late to send nominations to woty@americandialect.org.

The Berkeley word of the year will maybe be chosen by me when I feel like it. It’s also not too late to send nominations to kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Happy New Year!




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