There are two kinds of people: those for whom the American Dialect Society’s selection of -ussy (and the related ussification) as the 2022 word of the year comes as gratifying vindication; and those who are saying WTF? or words to that effect.
I admit it: When the vote came down—no runoff required—on the evening of January 6, 2023, I was in the latter group.
2022 was, after all, the year of Dobbs, of AI, of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, of the Chinese Olympics, of the Qatari World Cup, of a major breakthrough in fusion ignition. It was the year of the January 6 hearings, for crying out loud! The 200-odd attendees at the American Dialect Society session—a large percentage of them, if the past is any guide, linguistics graduate students or recent PhDs—mostly ignored those world-historic, linguistically productive phenomena in favor of a whimsical, Extremely Online, and slightly smutty word part.
The final ADS vote, by way of Kirby Conrod’s Twitter feed. “Rizz”—also new to me!—is a clipping of “charisma.”