Word of the Year (WOTY) season has officially opened with the announcement of the New Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2008: hypermiling.
From the announcement:
“Hypermiling” was coined in 2004 by Wayne Gerdes, who runs this web site. “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon.
I own a Honda Civic hybrid, which I prefer to drive barefoot. Apparently that qualifies me as a hypermiler in training.
I'm not exactly clear on the criteria for NOAD's selection; it's not as though hypermiling has been in front-page headlines all year. Personally, I'm more drawn to some of the also-rans, like frugalista (a "person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc."), topless meeting ("a meeting in which the participants are barred from using their laptops, Blackberries, cellphones, etc."), and toxic debt ("mainly sub-prime debts that are now proving so disastrous to banks"). I'd heard of all of these terms, but not of the fourth runner-up, moofer ("a mobile out of office worker – ie. someone who works away from a fixed workplace, via Blackberry/laptop/wi-fi etc.").
And then there's the shortlist: hockey mom, anyone? Or staycation?
But whatever. And congratulations to Wayne Gerdes, who is sure to get a boost in site traffic as a result of the NOAD nod.
We'll be seeing more Word of the Year selections over the next eight weeks or so, culminating in the American Dialect Society's big announcement in January. The ADS will be meeting in San Francisco, and I'm looking forward to joining the fun for the first time (the WOTY session is open to the public). Last year's ADS WOTY, by the way, was subprime, which certainly proved prescient.
Leave a comment, if you choose, with your own 2008 WOTY nomination. Just one nomination per person, please, along with a justification and citations, if possible.
(UPDATE: Forgot to mention that NOAD's 2007 Word of the Year was locavore.)