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Best and worst new words of 2011

This is the time of year when linguisticians, lexicographers and other highly trained wonks announce their lists of new words that joined the English language this year.

I’ll play along too. Here’s my highly unacademic list of the 5 best and 5 worst new words of 2011. (Some of these words were coined prior to 2011 but grew significantly more popular in the last year.)

BEST

  • Mansplain – The act of a man telling a woman something she already knows, with a condescending undercurrent of sexism.
  • The 99% – People outside of the top 1% of income earners. Coined by Occupy Wall Street protesters.
  • Carmageddon – Any bad traffic jam. Used most recently last summer to refer to the 405 freeway construction near Los Angeles.
  • Supercommittee – Any powerful and important committee. Used most recently as a nickname for the U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which collapsed in failure. Now best used when making an ironic comment about the inherent ineptitude of committees.
  • Reblog – To take something from a blog and repost it on your blog. Used most prominently by Tumblr.

WORST

  • Cone-ing – Making a video for fun as you order an ice cream cone from a drive-through window and then grab it by the ice cream instead of the cone. Popularized by bored kids in the suburbs.
  • Communiting – Defined by Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas: “The intersection of people and companies in a conversation.”
  • Acqhire – To buy a company primarily because you want its employees.
  • Squirmish – As used by Sarah Palin: “I haven’t heard the president say that we are at war. Do we use the term intervention, do we use war, do we use squirmish, what is it?”
  • Fauxdashian – A fake Kardashian.

Photo: Zelenskaya/Shutterstock

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Words

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