A not-so-friendly Word of the Year

You're accustomed to my posting a Word for the Weekend to cue us to ponder the scriptures for the coming Sunday. Well, here's a post on the Word of the Year from Oxford University Press.

What do you think? Have you been unfriended? Have you unfriended anyone?

Got a a better Word of the Year?

H/T to Fran for this from the OUPblog:
Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year. This announcement is usually applauded by some and derided by others and the ongoing conversation it sparks is always a lot of fun, so I encourage you to let us know what you think in the comments.

Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

(Read the complete post here)



  1. Reminds me of the kids that say "he disrespected me," or he "dissed me."

  2. Language, like most living things, evolves. I'm actually pondering unfriending someone because she's someone I work with (well, actually she's a client within the university), and now we're friended I feel like my boundaries are too porous. I'll explain to her, and she's the kind of person who would understand.

    I think "disrespected" or "dissed" filled a gap in English. I use it. But then I also work with someone who still says "groovy," and it actually sounds cool when he uses it. I never used it back in the sixties, and I'm not picking it up now.

    So, language is going to evolve, but I don't have to use every word that comes down the street! ;-)

  3. Would that be a literal rendering of the Latin?

  4. It is amazing how much our vocabulary has changed (for better or for worse) since the advent of technology. When was the last time we used these words: typewriter, slide rule, correction fluid, carbon paper, duplicating machine, masters (referring to those horrible purple-y things we used in duplicating machines),adding machine, encyclopedia, thesaurus and dictionary? Now we speak of spell check, printers, calculators, delete, word processing, and copiers. Our children don't even know what those other things are!


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and PRAY before you think!