If the most looked up words are any reflection of the mood of our society , it is no wonder that “bailout”—a word ubiquitously featured in discussions of the presidency & fiscal policy—took home honors as Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2008.
Bailout (noun): a rescue from financial distress
The origin of the word bailout here. Infact the top 10 list reflects politics & the economy were foremost on the minds of many Americans during 2008. For example – second on the list -“vet” means to evaluate a candidate’s suitability and qualifications for a position. And in third place, just in front of “maverick” – a word used during the long presidential campaign to describe Republican candidate John McCain – was the word “socialism”.
Bailout also won American Dialect Society’s word of the year contest.
With social media on rise all across the globe , there is just excess of personal information we are divulging on blogs & SN profiles. Not a big surprise again – “overshare” is Webster’s New World Dictionary’s word of the year.
Overshare (verb): to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.
Blogs surged with “Oversharing” this year from a New York Times Magazine cover story in May by Emily Gould, a former editor of Gawker.com. Gould spilled the goods on her ongoing professional and romantic dramas on her own blog, and then wrote about the perils of oversharing: “Technology just enables us to overshare on a different scale.”
Two other candidates for Word of the Year 2008
Cyberchondriac (noun): a hypochondriac who imagines that he or she has a particular disease based on medical information gleaned from the Internet.
Selective Ignorance (noun): the practice of selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant, or otherwise unnecessary information received, such as e-mails, news reports, etc.
Infact the words underscores that in the year 2008 has seen one element of ‘Attention Economy‘ shaping up – “consumer attention”. However privacy challenges are around. A recent IDG’s study found that only 3% of users surveyed are OK with publishers using their contact information for advertising.
Will 2009 be the year of “attention services”? Feel free to overshare in the comments!