At the start of the year the word “refudiate” didn’t exist. In mid-July Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor, changed that when she used the word in a Twitter message, somehow mashing up “refute” and “repudiate,” while trying to say something like “reject.”
Now refudiate has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, published by the Oxford University Press, beating out a number of other locutions — many technology-related — that have spread through the language and the Web over the past year.
In 2009, the award went to ”unfriend.”
Ammon Shea, an author and dictionary expert who was involved in this year’s voting process, said nominations for the award are based on a number of criteria, including the amount of attention the word has received over the previous year and whether its usage has grown.
Because technology has moved further into the flow of our daily lives, a number of nerdy words were also in the running for word of the year:
retweet verb (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). nouna reposted or forwarded message on Twitter.
webisode noun 1. an original episode derived from a television series, made for online viewing. [origin — 1990s: blend of Web and episode]
crowdsourcing noun the practice whereby an organization enlists a variety of freelancers, paid or unpaid, to work on a specific task or problem: Kodak used social media crowdsourcing to engage its customers in their naming contest.
gleek noun (informal) a fan of the television series Glee.[origin — early 21st cent.: blend of Glee and geek]
nom nom (informal) exclamation an expression of delight when eating. [origin — imitative; popularized by the noises made by the character Cookie Monster on Sesame Street (usually as “Om nom nom nom”)]
“Nom nom” has been popularized online by the Web site LOLCats, which pairs photos of cats with particularly bad grammar.
Although webisode has been around for more than a decade, it was in the running this year thanks to its heightened use with the rise of online video consumption.
There were a number of mainstream runners-up for this year’s top honors, including vuvuzela, the long horn instrument blown by fans at soccer matches, and Tea Party, denoting a “movement of conservatives protesting the federal government.”