I am very disappointed in Oxford’s Word of the Year. “Hypermiling,” a present participle arriving now like a file cruelly lodged between two front teeth, lacks the tang of last year’s “locavore.” It’s only slightly better than 2006’s “carbon neutral” — a term that rustles from the lips with the same gushing disgust as “enema.” 2005’s “podcast” was not bad. But I now fear that Oxford has become prejudicial towards words lazily coined from stray suffixes and prefixes. If you ask me, Susie Dent, who also works at the Oxford University Press, does a much better job of finding words that encapsulate specific years than the “official” Oxford word. And for those seeking more linguistic alternatives, start from the Wikipedia links and get lost.
[UPDATE: Well, it appears that Susie Dent has a better flair for words of the year than the Americans. Ms. Dent has selected “credit crunch” — far more applicable to our everyday world than “hypermiling.” Indeed, such is the power of “credit crunch” that it could very well be misconstrued for a breakfast cereal. Clearly, Ms. Dent needs to advise the Americans in some capacity.]