I know it’s not cool to be a prescriptivist, but can I just say that Merriam-Webster picked the dumbest fucking word in the universe as their Word of the Year 2007? I’m aware that M-W itself didn’t make the choice, the eleven year olds who use their web site did, but isn’t that why they have all those lexicographers lying around? To point out when the rest of us are being idiots, and shut us down?
A few people wrote this week about M-W’s announcement, and I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t have anything nice to say. Actually I have one nice thing to say, which is that some of the comments on Wordie’s page for it are pretty good, including the links to various etymologies, and, especially, the prior art from Chaucer. But I got a few more emails today and figured, fine, I’ll uncork myself and spew some bile.
I’m not even sure I don’t like the word, but I hate that they picked it, and I’m not alone. It’s not just the winner that sucks, it’s the whole list. Conundrum? Apathetic? What do these words have to do with anything interesting or topical? The only good word of the lot is Pecksniffian, though why it’s on a list of words for 2007, and not 1857, is beyond me.
M-W is in the doghouse, along with William Safire. I’m now doubly glad M-W got voted off the island a month or so ago, when by unanimous consent they were replaced by OneLook as one of the sites Wordie links to.