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Jan 9, 2016

2015 Word of the Year

Did you know there is a Word of the Year vote?

The American Dialect Society, in its 26th annual word of the year vote, selected they used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun as the Word of the Year for 2015.


They was recognized by the society for its emerging use as a pronoun to refer to a known person, often as a conscious choice by a person rejecting the traditional gender binary of he and she.

According to the story: the use of they as a singular occurs in the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Austen. In 2015, its use as a singular pronoun was advocated by the Washington Post style guide. Bill Walsh, copy editor for the Post, described they as “the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.”

What was they up against? Here are the vote tallies, with winners indicated by an asterisk, and numbers separated by slash marks indicate a run-off.

WORD OF THE YEAR
ammosexual: someone who loves firearms in a fetishistic manner. 42
ghost: (verb) abruptly end a relationship by cutting off communication, especially online. 25
on fleek: put together, impeccable, well-arrayed. 4
thanks, Obama: sarcastic expression in which a person pretends to blame Obama for a problem. 76
* they: gender-neutral singular pronoun for a known person, particularly as a nonbinary identifier. 187
MOST USEFUL
mic drop: definitive end to a discussion after making an impressive point. 2
microaggression: subtle form of racism or bias. 62
shade: insult, criticism or disrespect, shown in a subtle or clever manner. 11
* they: gender-neutral singular pronoun for a known person, particularly as a nonbinary identifier. 214
zero fucks given, ZFG: indication of supreme indifference. 41
MOST CREATIVE
adult: (verb) behave like a grownup 71
* ammosexual: someone who loves firearms in a fetishistic manner. 153
lowkey: (adverb) to a small extent, in a subtle manner; opposite of highkey. 38
squad: one’s posse or close circle of friends. 3
yass, yaass, yaaass, etc.: expression of excitement, approval or strong agreement. 43
MOST UNNECESSARY
dadbod: the flabby physique of a typical dad. 16
* manbun: man’s hairstyle pulled up in a bun. 207
or nah: question tag expressing that something may not occur. 34
trigger warning: alert for potentially distressing material. 10
thanks, Obama: sarcastic expression in which a person pretends to blame Obama for a problem. 34
MOST OUTRAGEOUSfish gape: posed expression with cheeks sucked in and lips slightly apart. 3
* fuckboy, fuckboi: derogatory term for a man who behaves objectionably or promiscuously. 127 / 173
schlong: (verb) defeat soundly. 93 / 148
sharewashing: deceptive marketing by companies treating services as “sharing.” 14
white student union: campus organization organized in response to a black student union. 27
MOST EUPHEMISTICaf, asf: intensifier after an adjective (abbreviation for “as fuck”). 1
lit: amazing, exciting or fun. 2
* Netflix and chill: sexual come-on masked as a suggestion to watch Netflix and relax. 315
swipe right/left: accept or reject (based on gestures used on Tinder dating app). 24
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED
CRISPR: gene-editing technology allowing biologists to alter and control DNA sequences. 51
* ghost: (verb) abruptly end a relationship by cutting off communication, especially online. 223
mom: admiring term of address for a woman seen as a mother figure. 17
on fleek: put together, impeccable, well-arrayed. 23
LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED
Berniementum: momentum behind the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. 59
hoverboard: self-balancing motorized skateboard. 82 / 106
* sitbit: device that rewards sedentary lifestyle (play on Fitbit fitness tracker). 102 / 191
Uber for X: pitch used by startups seeking to emulate Uber in different tech sectors. 33
MOST NOTABLE HASHTAG (new category)
#JeSuisParis: expression of solidarity after the Paris terror attacks. 6
#LoveWins: celebration of Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. 60
* #SayHerName: call to bring attention to violence against women. 178
#StayMadAbby: ridiculing plaintiff in Univ. of Texas affirmative action case. 17
#StayWoke: exhortation to remain vigilant and informed (used by #BlackLivesMatter movement). 59
MOST NOTABLE EMOJI (new category)
😍: heart eyes (romantic, passionate). 31
😉: winking face (humorous, flirtatious). 8
💁: information desk person (sassy, sarcastic). 31
🍆: eggplant (sexual innuendo). 138
💯: 100 (“keep it 100,” “keep it real”). 56

What do you think of the Society’s choice? 
What words would you have voted for, or nominated?
Which of these words have you used, or will use?


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