Image Credit: Palin: Fox NewsTake a look at the images on the left. What do they both have in common? (Besides, of course, the fact that they’re both catalysts for major firestorms.) Give up? Well, both have inspired two separate vocabulary-minded companies to crown their Words of the Year: “Refudiate,” a non-existent word used by Sarah Palin in a tweet back in July, has been named Word of the Year by the Oxford American Dictionary, while the Global Language Monitor has recognized “Spillcam” the top word of 2010. (“Vuvuzela,” the overbearingly loud horn used at the World Cup, finished second to spillca-BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.)
Interestingly enough, “refudiate” placed fourth on Global Language Monitor’s list — behind the aforementioned vuvuzela at No. 2, and “the narrative” at No. 3 — which means one thing: Between this and Palin’s ratings domination on TLC last night, the ex-governor of Alaska is back in vogue like it’s September 2008. Personally, as someone who appreciates the proper English language (but, yes, hypocritically championed the placement of “truthiness” in the dictionary a few years back), I have to refudiate OAD’s decision to recognize Palin’s gaffe, even if there are (thankfully) no plans to include the word in the dictionary. (But am I using it correctly? I
refudiately honestly don’t know!) Let’s only reward non-words when they’re awesome, like Baconnaise, ‘mkay?