Word Spy Blog

The New Words of the Year

I’m pleased to (finally) announce the Word Spy “Word of the Year” and other neological awards for 2015.
Word of the Year
feardom nThe state of living in fear or being subject to laws and policies based on fear. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

manspreading n. The act of a man sitting with his knees spread widely apart, particularly when this crowds people next to him or prevents someone from taking an adjacent seat. (entry)
gig economy n. The economic sector consisting of freelancers who take on a series of small jobs, particularly when those jobs are contracted online using a website or app. (entry)
Neologism of the Year§
JeSuisCharlie hashtag An expression of support for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom from terror, particularly as a reaction to the January 7, 2015 terrorist attack on the French publisher Charlie Hebdo. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

dudefussing ppMaking numerous small, needless adjustments as a pretense of effort, particularly by a man. (entry)
legacyquel nA movie that continues a long-running franchise, but with a younger actor taking over the lead role. (entry)

§ This applies only to words that were coined in 2015.

Cruft* of the Year

scanlation n. The pirating of a foreign language comic book or similar graphic work by scanning the images and then translating the text. (scan + translation) (entry)

Dishonorable mentions:

substition n. A fact that many people do not believe. (entry)
coworkation n. A working vacation spent in or near a facility that offers a shared office environment for independent workers. (entry)
* “Poorly built, possibly over-complex; generally unpleasant” —The Jargon File.
Most Fun New Word
goat cheese curtain n. An imaginary boundary that separates urban sophisticates from those with simple, traditional, or uncultured tastes. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

sockmageddon n. A long or intense struggle with washing, folding, or pairing socks. (entry)
argumentum ad tl;dr n. The fallacy of supporting a proposition by inundating one’s opponents with specious arguments that are too numerous and too lengthy to read, much less refute point-by-point. (entry)
sea-lion v. To intrude upon an online conversation in an attempt to engage opponents in debate, particularly by using a tone of feigned civility. (entry)
Snark of the Year
hipster paradox n. The tendency for people who assert their individuality using deliberately anti-mainstream dress and grooming to end up all looking very similar, thus becoming the new mainstream. (entry.)

Honorable mentions:

condesplaining pp. Explaining in a condescending way, particularly from a point of view of power or privilege. (entry)
dadbod n. A male physique characterized by a slight flabbiness, undefined musculature, and a noticeable beer belly; a man who has such a physique. (entry)
Most Likely to Succeed
manspreading n. The act of a man sitting with his knees spread widely apart, particularly when this crowds people next to him or prevents someone from taking an adjacent seat. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

swatting n. A hoax that involves phoning police and providing false information that causes the dispatch of a SWAT team to the hoax victim’s home. (entry)
weedery n. A business that sells medical marijuana. (entry)
Least Likely to Succeed
FOGOn. The fear of going out, particularly if one is tired from previous socializing; the desire to not attend a popular event that is over-hyped or over-commercialized. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

Kispang number n. The maximum distance a person could run at the average pace used by Wilson Kipsang while setting the marathon world record. (entry)
bridechilla n. A bride-to-be who, while planning her wedding, remains calm, relaxed, and easy-going. (entry)
The Facepalm d’Or
selfeet n. A photo of one’s shoes or one’s bare feet. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

mirdle n. An undergarment designed to give a man a slimmer appearance, particularly at the waist. (entry)
uni-moon n. A vacation taken separately by each person in a newly married couple in lieu of a honeymoon. (entry)
Most Useful
gig economy n. The economic sector consisting of freelancers who take on a series of small jobs, particularly when those jobs are contracted online using a website or app. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

eavesread vTo surreptitiously read the text that another person is reading or writing. (entry)
winterregnum nA pause or interruption in a continuous activity during winter or caused by winter weather. (entry)
Most Unnecessary
solitudinousness n. A state or condition characterized by solitude. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

demisexual n. A person who only feels sexual attraction in the context of an emotional or romantic relationship. (entry)
virch n. Colloquial shortening of the phrase “virtual reality.” (entry)
The Weep for Humanity Award
walking ATM n. An illegal immigrant or migrant worker who is frequently robbed because they have no bank account and so must carry all their cash. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

stingray n. A device that spoofs a cellular network tower to identify and track mobile phones. (entry)
fracklog n. Gas or oil that is ready to be fracked, but remains in the ground pending higher petroleum prices. (entry)
The Apocalypse Is Nigh Award
Uberization n. The conversion of existing jobs and services into discrete tasks that can be requested on-demand; the emulation of the Uber taxi service, or the adoption of its business model. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

droneport n. An airport or hub designed for or dedicated to drones. (entry)
food swamp n. An area that has an abundance of fast food restaurants and other low-nutrition food options. (entry)
The WTF? Award
death cafe n. A social gathering where people discuss death while having a meal or a drink. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

monogamish adj. In a monogamous relationship, but with a mutual agreement that allows occasional infidelities. (entry)
cuffing season n. Late fall and early winter when single people seek exclusive relationships to help them get through the coming cold months. (entry)
Tongue Twister of the Year
biononymity (by.oh.non.IM.uh.tee ) n. The quality or state of having one’s biological data anonymous or private. (entry)

Honorable mentions:

amatonormativity (uh.MAT.oh.nor.muh.TIV.uh.tee) n. The legal, cultural, and moral privileging and promotion of the romantic couple as the highest form of human relationship. (entry)
solitudinousness (sawl.uh.TOO.din.uss.nuss) n. A state or condition characterized by solitude. (entry)

2 thoughts on “The New Words of the Year

  1. Pingback: Words of 2015 round-up | OUPblog

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