Berniebro: “A white, male Bernie Sanders supporter who haunts Internet comment sections” (Amanda Hess, Slate). “A cohort of intense, sexist Bernie Sanders fans on social media who harass journalists they deem not adequately pro-Sanders” (Adam Johnson, AlterNet). Coined from Bernie (U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president) and bro, a truncation of brother that has come to signify “a male youth subculture of ‘conventional guys’ guys’ who spend time partying in ways similar to each other” (Wikipedia). Also spelled Bernie Bro and BernieBro.
Well-being: The state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous (said of people); or of being able to flourish (said of things). First seen in English in the mid-16th century; modeled after Italian benessere.
Well-being is a catchword and linchpin of the billionaire Koch brothers’ campaign to change the way their powerful conservative network – which comprises the energy-and-chemical conglomerate Koch Industries as well as numerous foundations, political think tanks, and tea party groups – is perceived. Jane Mayer, author of a new book about the Kochs, Dark Money, writes in the January 18, 2016, issue of the New Yorker that the Kochs “appear to be undergoing the best image overhaul that money can buy” to help the public forget that they were known until recently as – in the words of the president of the PR firm Reputation Doctor – “the heads of the Toxic Empire.” (Mayer’s New Yorker article is cleverly titled “New Koch.”)
On Tuesday, Sarah Palin, wearing a hypnotically sparkly garment that sartorial conservatives might have impugned as inappropriate for a daytime event, delivered a 20-minute endorsement of real estate developer and former Democrat Donald J. Trump, who, as you may have heard, is running for president as a Republican in order to Make America Great Again. As the New York Timesput it, in an excess of understatement, “Ms. Palin has always been a singular force on the campaign trail. But in her her years away from politics, the former Alaska governor and Senator John McCain’s Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008 seems to have spawned a whole new series of idiosyncratic expressions and unusual locutions.”
I’ll say. Here are some of the responses Ms. Palin’s “expressions and locutions” have inspired.
The WOTY party has begun, and I’m arriving fashionably (or maybe just breathlessly) late. Back in early November, Allan Metcalf nominated basic for the honor; a couple of weeks later Dennis Baron, aka Dr. Grammar, anointed singular they and Oxford Dictionaries selected an emoji, “Face with Tears of Joy.” Merriam-Webster, which chooses its WOTY based on volume of online lookups, selected -ism. The spoofy Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum (named after “Emily’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request”) has been posting one WOTY candidate every day in December, along with runners-up. (I confess I’d never heard of Dick Poop, but I like it.) And over at the Visual Thesaurus (where I’m a contributing writer), Ben Zimmer has nominated a couple dozen notable words that surfaced this year in science, business, news, and pop culture.
not a peeve or a complaint about overuse or misuse.
Word of the year: Refugee
Most useful: Mx.
Most likely to succeed: Ghosting
Least likely to succeed: Left shark
Euphemism of the year: Netflix and chill
Most creative: Shipping
Most outrageous: Measles party, schlonged (tie – it was an outrageous year!)
Most unnecessary: Microaggression
Most productive: -shaming
Read on for the full WOTY list – 20 words in all – and brief definitions. Words previously featured on this blog are linked to the relevant posts. And follow the American Dialect Society for news of its WOTY vote on January 8.
The American Name Society is accepting nominations for Names of the Year, with the winners to be announced at the society’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, on January 8, 2015. Anyone can play; submit your nominations before January 5.
Here are my own nominations in the categories established by ANS – names “that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States and Canada.” My top picks are *starred.
Attactics: Aggressive tactics. A portmanteau of attack and tactics; in some cases a probable eggcorn.
In a November 13, 2015, post on ADS-L, the listserv of the American Dialect Society, slang expert Jonathan E. Lighter noted that “CNN speaks of Donald Trump’s ‘attactics’ against Ben Carson” in the Republican presidential campaign. I hadn’t heard the usage, so I emailed Lighter for specifics. The source, he told me, was Christopher Cuomo, co-achor of the “New Day” morning show. Cuomo, it turns out, has been staging a one-man campaign to make attactics happen on the air and on Twitter.