Politics and economics made 2012 a target-rich environment for us word-of-the-year trackers. Republican presidential-primary candidate Rick Santorum alone gave us blah, guillotine, snob, and non-faith. (Santorum’s surname has achieved its own scandalous notoriety.) From the Mitt Romney campaign we picked up tithing, retroactively, wazzock, Romneyshambles, and binders. Vice President Joe Biden made malarkey memorable, President Obama spoke sharply of bayonets, and the Republican convention spawned Eastwooding, from actor Clint Eastwood’s surreal dialogue with an empty chair.
Meanwhile, we struggled to remember the fiscal definition of sequestration – not to be confused with jury sequestration – and marveled at all the people looking up socialism and capitalism in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. We shopped for tribal prints and smoking slippers and earnestly practiced chewdaism. We worried about the Rampture and distracted ourselves by GIF-ing compulsively. “YOLO,” we said, shrugging.
But enough runners-up. My list of 14 WOTY nominees follows the jump. I limited my list to U.S. usages, and I adhered to the American Dialect Society’s criteria for selection, which stipulate that nominees be:
- demonstrably new or newly popular in 2012
- widely and/or prominently used in 2012
- indicative or reflective of the popular discourse
In addition, a nominated word can’t be “a peeve or complaint about overuse or misuse.”
In alphabetical order, then: