Tag Archive | "word of the year"

And the Word of The Year 2011 goes to…

And the Word of The Year 2011 goes to…

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… “squeezed middle”! Huh? What the hell?

A week ago on Nov. 22, Oxford University Press announced that their U.S. and U.K. lexicographers along with the editorial, marketing and publicity staff had chosen a “global word of the year.”

It is the first time that the U.S. and U.K. are collaborating.

And that word of the year for 2011 is… “squeezed middle.”

Eh… What the hell?

Since you’re scratching your chin, I supposed you’re feeling perplexed as well, and you should be.

Because those TWO words are neither global, nor a word, nor of this year.

It is a catchphrase popularised by Ed Miliband, a British Labor MP in the fall of 2010. Which is last year.

Miliband was being deliberately vague when he came up with that term. It was probably because he wanted nearly everyone to think he was “talking about them”.

He is a politician, you see.

There are also a few other obvious problems with this choice for 2011.

What is distressing is that the Oxford University Press press release referred to the phrase as a “compound”.

Because it isn’t.

A “compound” is a term with a specific grammatical meaning which does not apply in this case. (For example,the word “starfish” is a compound.)

Next, the term is not “global”, that’s for sure.

It is a British phrase that even the Americans have ignored. A Google search would show that “squeezed middle” refers to “cookie filling”. Like cookie filling found in Chips Ahoy.

Anyhow, we’re going to end this article off with the shortlisted words that never made it, some of which were more obvious and better choices.

Such as “occupy” or “bunga bunga”.

From the Oxford University Press press release:

This year saw a particularly strong shortlist of contenders for Word of the Year. The shortlisted words for the US and UK differ, reflecting differences between more local issues and culture. In alphabetical order, here is the US selection of shortlisted words:

Arab Spring n.: a series of anti-government uprisings in various countries in North Africa and the Middle East, beginning in Tunisia in December 2010. [After Prague Spring, denoting the 1968 reform movement in Czechoslovakia.]

Bunga bunga n.: used in reference to parties hosted by the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, at which various illicit sexual activities were alleged to have taken place.

Clicktivism n.: the use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause. [Blend of click and activism.]

Crowdfunding n.: the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. [After crowdsourcing.]

Fracking n.: the forcing open of fissures in subterranean rocks by introducing liquid at high pressure, especially to extract oil or gas. [Shortened < hydraulic fracturing.]

Gamification n.: the application of concepts and techniques from games to other areas of activity, for instance as an online marketing technique.

Occupy n.: the name given to an international movement protesting against perceived economic injustice by occupying buildings or public places and staying there for an extended period of time. [From the imperative form of the verb occupy, as in the phrase Occupy Wall Street.]

The 99 percent: the bottom 99% of income earners, regarded collectively.

Tiger mother n.: a demanding mother who pushes her children to high achievement using methods regarded as typical of Asian childrearing. [Coined by Amy Chua in her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.]

Sifi n.: a bank or other financial institution regarded as so vital to the functioning of the overall economy that it cannot be allowed to fail. [Acronym from systemically important financial institution. Pronounced “SIFF-ee”, rhyming with “jiffy”.]