nominations: British Word of the Year

The American Dialect Society will soon be voting on its Word of the Year for 2006. The WotY is a word that best captures the Zeitgeist of that year. (They/we [when I'm there] also vote for words in other categories, for example 'most likely to succeed', 'most unnecessary', etc.) The WotY is often a new word, but it doesn't have to be, so long as it fits the bill.

I'd like to propose a British Word of the Year vote. This is how it works:
  1. You nominate a word (or expression) that you feel captures some particularly "2006" aspect of UK life. You can nominate via the comments for this entry, or by e-mail.
  2. On/around 1 Jan 2007, I present a shortlist of nominations for your vote.
  3. Voting closes 8 Jan, and a winner will be crowned.
The only word I've discussed here that looks like a contender is WAG.

Nominations are open!


  1. In case you missed it, Susie Dent and Oxford University Press picked a UK Word of the Year: bovvered. (WAG was one of the runners-up.)

  2. I live a cloistered life, in that I lack the benefit (if such it be) of television. May I nevertheless suggest 00 as in size 00?

  3. I say 'pah' to Susie Dent's word! Pah! Where's the democracy in her WOTY? Let's have our own! (Vote for bovvered if you like!)

  4. Hm, complete lack of response to my call for democracy. Could it be (she said, knowingly provoking) that the British are more comfortable with royal decrees (al Dent-e) than democratic choice?

  5. I like your site.

    Here's an idea I saw over at Andrew Sullivan's today. It's probably too narrow to be the BWOTY, but Sullivan is a grood BrE/AmE crossover himself.


    "We need a new term to describe the way in which pundits' past pontifications can now come back to haunt them."

  6. Or maybe Googleschaden since that connotes the grief rather than the joy.

    BTW, my thanks to two lurking posters who only identify themselves in their direct approaches to me as kmoss and ncampbell and who ask about the pronunciation of my BWOTY-candidate 00. No, ladies, it's not /u:/ but /'ziɹəuziɹəu/.

  7. Yes, Googleschaden is better. I knew something wasn't quite right.

  8. How about Schadengoogle to make the parallel to schadenfreude a little clearer?

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. I've taken the liberty of removing an abusive, anonymous post.

  11. I must admit to liking Schadengoogle, but Sullivan's now noted Paul's Googleschaden--so maybe that has a future!

  12. I say 'double zero' or 'double oh' too; never heard anyone say 'zero zero' or 'oh oh' for the clothes size 00...

  13. I wish we could vote on the American WOY, but that seems to be a top-down decision. Anyway, my choice would be:


    Not sure if it's been as important in Britain as over here in the States?

  14. Anyone can vote on the American WOTY, if they (a) join the American Dialect Society ($25 for students, $50 for others), and (b) go to their January meeting (this year in Anaheim, California 4-6 Jan). There is a vote--and campaigning!

    I'd say that waterboard is more of an American WOTY candidate--but others are welcome to disagree.

  15. Stop (the) press(es):

    Merriam-Webster has joined the WOTY game with an on-line survey, which declared truthiness the word of this year. This happened to be the American Dialect Society's word of last year. The fact that it was an on-line poll leaves open, of course, the possibility that there was a concerted effort by Stephen Colbert fans to stuff the ballot boxes.

    Here's the CNN story.

  16. Another American WOTY, as selected by Dennis Baron on The Web of Language: roadside bomb.


The book!

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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)