Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

The American Dialect Society seeks 2008 word-of-the-year nominations

The American Dialect Society is now accepting nominations for the “word of the year” of 2008.

What is the word or phrase which best characterizes the year 2008? What expression most reflects the ideas, events, and themes which have occupied the United States and its residents?

Nominations should be sent to

They will be considered for the American Dialect Society’s 19th annual word-of-the-year vote, the longest-running vote of its kind in the world and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It will be held in San Francisco on Friday, January 9, 2009.

The best “word of the year” candidates will be:

–new or newly popular in 2008
–widely or prominently used in 2008
–indicative or reflective of the national discourse

Multi-word compounds or phrases that act as single lexical items are welcomed, as well.

Sub-categories for “word of the year” include most useful, most creative, most unnecessary, most outrageous, most euphemistic, most likely to succeed, and least likely to succeed.

The vote is informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 119-year-old academic organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead, they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.

Past winners can be found here.

author avatar
Grant Barrett