Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

In defiance of “unfriending” I suggest listening to this while reading:

I WIll Follow (Live) – U2


Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

Filed in A-Editor’s Picks , A-Featured , Current Events , Dictionaries , Lexicography , Reference on November 16, 2009 | ShareThis

Birds are singing, the sun is shining and I am joyful first thing in the morning without caffeine. Why you ask? Because it is Word of the Year time (or WOTY as we refer to it around the office).  Every year the New Oxford American Dictionary prepares for the holidays by making its biggest announcement of the year.  This announcement is usually applauded by some and derided by others and the ongoing conversation it sparks is always a lot of fun, so I encourage you to let us know what you think in the comments.

Without further ado, the 2009 Word of the Year is: unfriend.

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

Wondering what other new words were considered for the New Oxford American Dictionary 2009 Word of the Year?  Check out the list below.

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