Thursday, December 21, 2006

2007’s word of the year

There have already been plenty of radio shows and newspaper articles on what might be christened 2006’s word of the year. Macaca is up there. So is google as a verb (though maybe a little too 2005), and, of course, Decider as a proper noun. Carbon Neutral is a nice one—even if it is really two—and Merriam Webster Online chose Truthiness.

Problem is, Truthiness was already 2005’s word of the year according to the American Dialect Society, the self-anointed grand arbiters of this contest. The ADS has, in the past, given shout-outs to Red State/Blue State/Purple State (2004’s “word” of the year), metrosexual (2003’s w.o.t.y.), santorum (a by-product of anal sex, 2003’s most outrageous word of the year), and, looking back to 1999’s top spot, Y2K—a personal favorite for obvious reasons.

Nominations are ongoing for 2006’s big word over at the Dialect Society’s website—well, not quite, it seems you have to be a “real” journalist or something (which reminds me, I nominate establishment media)—but because the word of the year has to be in something resembling common usage by the end of the appointed year, I want to get a head start on 2007.

I nominate Tinkerbellista. Yes, I invented that word. Just last week, as a matter of fact. I originally spelled it “Tinkerbelle-ista,” but I think the word will evolve to lose its final “e” and hyphen, don’t you? (I actually heard someone remark with love that blogs are great for the language because they are essentially un-copyedited. Hooray for us!)

A Tinkerbellista is a person hanging on to a discredited idea or belief that thinks or espouses that if we all just believe in whatever it is with more fervor, it will become true. The more improbable or implausible the whatever is, the harder we must all believe (see: victory in Iraq).

Obviously, Tinkerbellista (don’t worry, it will eventually lose its capital “T,” too) comes to us courtesy of Peter Pan, who urges all of us to save the rather ethereal Tinkerbelle by believing, and to show that belief by clapping.

While credit for the origins of this word as a pejorative must go somewhere else—I have seen the sarcastic exaltation “clap louder” on several blogs—I would here and now like to take credit for being the first to call the non-sarcastic “clap louder” crowd Tinkerbellistas. (Don’t believe me? Go ahead, google it. . . or just clap louder!)

So, now, my dear readers, it is all up to you. Your mission for 2007 is to sprinkle your speech and writing with the great, grand, and useful word Tinkerbellista.

(And, if you want to nominate any of those “old” words for 2006, the ADS may not want to hear from you, but I do. I’d love it if you left your favorites as comments below. Thanks!)


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