I’m a word nerd. You might say I’m “a Werd.” Then again, if you said that, people would probably assume that you were saying “word,” and just be confused.
That’s how I know that the New Oxford American Dictionary has recently unveiled their 2009 Word of the Year. Oxford Dictionary doesn’t reveal the process by which it’s chosen. The highly-secretive, Mason-esque event occurs behind closed doors, and the results are only known when white smoke is released and two people at a sidewalk cafe request a different table.
Maybe you know the winning word, but if you don’t, let’s play a little game: I’ll list the word and a definition with 4 of the other nominees and you see if you can guess. Ready?
“Unfriend”-to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook. I prefer “Unface.” It implies some real conflict and and the chance of violence.
“Tramp Stamp”– a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman. And trust me, ladies, it only gets sexier when you’re 40.
“Choice Mom”– a person who chooses to be a single mother. Or chooses to get a Tramp Stamp at 40.
“Death Panel”-a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed. I love this idea! Please see: “To the Sponsors of the Heath Reform Bill”
“Intexticated”-distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle. Okay, now they’re just making up Sniglets.
And the winner is: Unfriend
They’ve already begun updating our culture. Instead of “‘Til Death do us part,” wedding officiants are instructed to say: “‘Til Life unfriends you.” In the literary classic Lord of the Flies, Piggy is now “unfriended” by the boulder. And Ken Burns has been ordered to alter the voice over in his highly-acclaimed P.B.S. series, The Civil War to include the new word. From now on, the Civil War is referred to as: “A Nation Unfriended.”
Sadly, spell check has yet to catch up to this newest trend.
So welcome to the lexicon, “unfriend,” and may we be “unfriends” forever!