The Year in Words

Merriam-Webster has published its Words of the Year for 2004—a list of the top 10 online searches at Merriam-Webster Online. The #1 searched-for word for 2004? “Blog.” Huh. (Being so popular and all, M‑W has restricted this definition to its subscription-only section, so I’ve linked it up to, instead. :ponder:)

Clocking in at #10 was “defenestration,” a word evidently so infrequently used they will define it for you free of charge. I have no idea what it’s doing on the list, but I’m sure it’s come up in English class this year. (Or was it last year? Anybody remember?) offers a less mechanical list of Top Words of 2004, featuring words nominated by the web site’s visitors, and then chosen by the staff. You’ll also find some bonus lists there: Top Names, Phrases, Numbers, California YouthSpeak, Internet, Sports-related, and Color-related Words, as well as the Top Words in Pop Music and the Most Frequently Spoken Word On The Planet. Wow.

Finally, Lake Superior State University posts their annual List of Banished Words for 2005:

You’re fired!”

That’s how Lake Superior State University selected words and phrases that make up its 30th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.

A svelte word banishment committee, fresh from a low-carb diet, said the process of selecting this year’s words was an amazing journey through hundreds of nominations.

We’re über-serious about this list,” said one committee member, who noted the committee would issue its list through a traditional press release rather than using a blog or webinar.

Words are chosen by a committee from nominations made through their web site, and the final list is released on New Year’s Day each year.