Word of the Year Part 2


Group selfie, or “grelfie.”

The results are in! The Word of the Year is “because”, as in “because internet,” or “because science.”  I will discuss the reasoning that was presented later in the post but first I want

The basic rules are as follows: everyone votes for their favorite choice in each category. Then, the votes are tallied, and if two words are at all close, those two words are voted on again. I will list all of the options by category, their respective numbers of votes, and then the number of votes for the second round of voting. Before each vote, there is some time allotted for speeches made in favor or against a certain word. As I mentioned in the last post, some words are not so much new as they have come into new usage in the past year. For their definitions (as defined by linguists at the conference), they are posted at the American Dialect Society website here.

Most Useful

Preliminary voting

Because + noun: 64

Selfie: 37

Slash (as a conjunction): 51

Struggle bus: 32

Final votes

Because + noun: 117

Slash: 79

Most Creative

Preliminary voting

Bitcoin: 4

Catfish: 62

Doge (the general style, not the specific word): 70

Robo Sapiens: 51

Final votes

Catfish: 94

Doge: 88

Most Unnecessary

Cronut: 18

Sharknado: 162

Stack-ranking: 11

Most Outrageous

Preliminary voting

Fatberg: 26

Revenge porn: 46

Shmeat: 17

Thigh gap: 43

Underbutt: 54

Final votes

Revenge porn: 75

Underbutt: 110

Most Euphemistic

Demised: 16

Least untruthful: 121

Slimdown: 72

Most Likely to Succeed

Binge-watch: 117

Drone: 19

Glasshole: 21

Obamacare: 51

Least Likely to Succeed:

Birthmas: 19

Harlem shake: 19

Thanksgivukkah: so many that they decided not to count

Most Productive (a new category for this year)

Preliminary voting

-coin: 0

-(el)fie: 39

-shaming: 98

-splaining: 49

-spo: 1

Final votes

-shaming: 132

-splaining: 68

Finally, the overall Word of the Year votes were the following:

Because + noun: 127

Slash: 21

Twerk: 7

Obamacare: 39

Selfie: 20

Although I personally voted for “selfie” for the Word of the Year, “because + noun” is a choice that had broad appeal with both the public and linguists. It has become widely publicized through such large media outlets as the Atlantic and the CBC, and the usage among internet users has gone up tremendously since linguists started noticing the phenomenon a year ago. One of the speeches made in favor of “because+noun” as the Word of the Year mentioned that, while individual words like “selfie” will always exist as candidates for the honor, we don’t often get to vote on a new grammatical item. That is, while there will always be a new word like “selfie”, we as speakers don’t generally change sentence structure all that often.

I realized after all the voting that I missed one that should have been mentioned, which was “feel,” meaning “feelings”. If you follow internet culture, you may have noticed that a common sentence was “I know that feel, bro,” or “so many feels.” While I don’t  think it would have changed the outcome, it should have at least been mentioned.

Since this is a topic which has broad appeal with the general public, I would love to hear back from those of you who read the blog about what you think of our decisions. What would you have voted for? Do you think we missed anything?

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