Monday, January 7, 2008

Words of the Year

The American Dialect Society announced that the word of the year in 2007 was "subprime." Previous winners include the 2006 verb "pluto," which means to devalue something, and the 2005 adjective "truthiness," which refers to what one wants to be true regardless of the facts.

Other important new words that emerged in 2007:

Googlegänger A person with your name who shows up when you google yourself.

I share the same name with my uncle, but he's not big on the Internets. My most prominent Googlegänger is a famous Canadian poet who's written several books on typography. I work at Adobe, which also has a little something to do with typography, so people often think they're communicating with a more important person. And here's something: my Googlegänger also works as a contractor for Adobe. At least I don't have it as bad as a couple of other Adobe employees whose Googlegängers are named Barry White and Michael Jordan.

wide stance To be hypocritical or to express two conflicting points of view. This is a reference to Larry Craig, a Republican politician who claimed he wasn't coming on to the undercover cop in the adjacent stall -- he just has a wide stance.

toe-tapper A homosexual.

Am I crazy, or are you drinking hard raspberry cider and eating a canadian bacon and pineapple pizza? What are you, a toe-tapper?

No, I just have a wide stance.

bacn Impersonal email such as alerts, newsletters, and automated reminders that are nearly as annoying as spam but which one has chosen to receive.

This is funny because it's so true!!!! (Sorry.)

celebu- prefix Indicates celebrity, as in celebutard.

This is my least favorite word on the list, because I can't stand the -tard suffix. It's the kind of thing that linguotards write.

connectile dysfunction Inability to gain or maintain a connection.

I should market a product for wireless routers called Linksyalis: If your connection lasts longer than four hours, notify your service provider.

wrap rage Anger brought on by the frustration of trying to open a factory-sealed purchase.

I've been doing the iTunes/mp3 thing for the last few years, so it's been a long time since I opened a CD or DVD. Before iTunes, I used to tell Wendy to clear out my schedule for the next hour -- no interruptions or phone calls -- because I had the task of unwrapping a CD on my plate. The shrinkwrap isn't too bad; you can get that off with a buckknife or small hatchet. It's those sticker strips they place at the top and bottom of the CD case. Do they still do that? Whatever, I don't care.

Speaking of iTunes, music industry officials claim that copying music from CDs you've purchased to your computer is considered theft. Amazing. I need to write an open letter to the music industry. By the way, that's a good idea for a blog: Every entry would be an open letter to someone. Dear Ann Coulter: Why the long face? That kind of thing. I'm babbling.

tapafication The tendency of restaurants to serve food in many small portions, similar to tapas.

There should also be a word for the way fancy chefs pile food vertically instead of spreading it around on a plate. Food tower? Cuisinart?

truther Someone who espouses a conspiracy theory about the events of 9/11.

Call me a truther, but there is something fishy about 9/11. For one thing, there is no way that a President of the United States could ever sit and listen to The Pet Goat being read to a school class for more than five minutes after being told the country was under attack. Harry the Dirty Dog, maybe, but The Pet Goat? No way. That's a crazy conspiracy theory.

make it rain To drop paper money on a crowd of people, especially in strip clubs, nightclubs, or casinos.

As a tightwad with serious money spending issues, I don't even have a joke for this.

global weirding An increase in severe or unusual environmental activity often attributed to global warming. This includes freakish weather and new animal migration patterns.

Seattle now has a winter. We're going to need snowplows in a few years.

locavore Someone who eats food that is grown or produced locally.

Good thing my Safeway is local.

vegansexual A person who eats no meat, uses no animal-derived goods, and who prefers not to have sex with non-vegans.



  1. How can we be sure you're not the other Robert B., too? Could you be leading a double life? With posts like this maybe you're just protecting your other identity? Very sly, Bob, or should I say, "Very sly, Canadian Bob." Funny how one of you is a typographer and how the other magically makes umlauts appear in ganger.

    My googlegänger is a pipe fitter from Ohio who has embarrassed me with several DUI charges. I get back at him by leaving stupid comments throughout the Googleable expanse.

  2. My googleganger is a prominent lutheran minister. i like to think about how irritating it must be for him to have a googleganger with a nickname of "fatty."

  3. My googleganger died in the TWA flight 800 crash many years ago, the one that was going to France. I've read all about her. It makes my flesh creep a little.

    - Gillian

  4. My googleganger is a body builder turned porn star. Hmmm.


  5. I have no Googleganger. It somehow makes me sad to be so uniquely named. Then again, I guess it's a bit much to expect that many other Wendolina Pasadenas in the world.

  6. I had never heard the term "truther" until one week ago and then bam, bam, bam its all over the place. I just finished reading a book called Them: Adventures With Extremists and truthers are featured prominently then out of the blue a magazine called Radar showed up at my house, I don't know why, with an excellent article about the truthers and now the smartest person I know in the whole world is talking about truthers. I smell a conspiracy.

  7. My favourite word from last year is "Masshole". It's found in Wikipedia and refers to the arrogant and rude Bostonians. It is particulary important when someone like Romney is able to actually win primaries. Maybe he should actually be a MorMasshole.