Web & communication software

Social Network Terms Go Mainstream

Words from the world of technology and social media are among those identified as the "Words of the Year 2009" in a list commissioned by Oxford University Press.

The New Oxford American Dictionary had already announced the verb 'unfriend' ("To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social

networking site such as Facebook") as its word of the year, confirming the social-networking term's ubiquity.

The new list was chosen by Countdown dictionary expert Susie Dent, who scanned the two billion word Oxford English Corpus database, reports The Telegraph.

"Tweetups" (meetings organised via microblogging service Twitter) is also on the list -- although the more common derivation "tweet" is not.

Also derived from Twitter is the word "Hashtag" -- meaning the # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets that contain similarly tagged items.

"Tag cloud" (a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online conte

Artwork: Chip Taylor
nt) was also picked out as one of the words of the year.

And "Slashdot effect" was another tech term included in the list. It means to slow down or crash a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.

"Freemiums" and "Paywalls" demonstrate that the world of free internet access may be under particular attack in 2010.

Words of the Year 2009

Tweetup - noun: a meeting or other gathering organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter. [from tweet + up on the pattern of MEETUP].

Hashtag - noun: a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets.

Tag cloud - noun: a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content, typically using colour and font size to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.

Slashdot effect - noun: the slowing down or crashing of a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.

Unfriend/defriend - verb: to remove from one's 'friends' list (e.g. on a social networking website).

Bossnapping - noun: (in France) the prevention of senior managers from leaving company premises for a period of time by their employees, in order to protest about large-scale redundancies and cutbacks.

Zombie bank - noun: a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support.

Geoengineering/ecohacking - noun: the deliberate large-scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth's climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of global warming.

Jeggings - plural noun: close-fitting leggings made of fabric that resembles denim in appearance [from jeans + leggings].

Minute mentoring - noun: a system of advising aspiring professionals based on the format of speed-dating.

Phantonym - noun: a word that looks as it if means one thing but in fact means something quite different. [from 'phantom + antonym] (for example fulsome, used by President Obama to mean 'full', when in fact it is now chiefly used in reference to excessive flattery).

Staycation - noun: a holiday spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

Simples - exclamation: used to say that something is very easy to achieve [from the 'compare the meerkat' TV advert].

Great Recession - noun: term for the current recession, modelled on the Great Depression.

Freemium - noun: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content.

Paywall - noun: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments