Behind the Word of the Year
The American Dialect Society recently released its Word of the Year, which is actually six words: red state, blue state, purple state.
And at Slate, Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the OED and a member of the society, gives a peek behind the scenes of the selection process in different categories. There's some fascinating reading here (well, at least to this word dork): why the suffix -based lost out to carb-friendly in the Most Unnecessary category, why most newspapers didn't print santorum as the winner of the Most Outrageous category.
There's some food for thought for copy editors, too. Consider:
The suffix -based, as in faith-based or reality-based, was widely disliked. "It's its own opposite," said Bill Kretzschmar, editor of the Linguistic Atlas of America. "If it's reality-based, it's not real."And what about carb-friendly?
"It's meaningless," said phonetician David "Not the Rock Star" Bowie, "unless you're saying you're a friend of carbs by not eating them."