Saturday January 6, 2007
Here in lovely Anaheim, California, the American Dialect Society has done its annual thing. The newly crowned Word of the Year is the transitive verb to pluto (and its passive variant to be plutoed), which is defined as:
[T]o demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet.
So it's kind of like unperson or deconsecrate, except for planets. I'm a little disappointed that to pluto beat out, along with murse (a man's purse), surge (as in troop surge), climate canary, prohibited liquids, flog (a blog that flacks product), and YouTube, my pick macaca. I'm not very disappointed, though, because I had strong opinions about the IAU Pluto decision, so I approve of the ADS's implicit mockery of it.
I got the word about The Word from a group of other linguistics bloggers who I'd left for a few minutes to drop my backpack off in my room. They'd just been interviewed for the Discovery Channel, which means I may have missed my chance to break into media punditry. It's probably for the best—it saved me the trouble of screaming, "Tenser, said the Tensor! Tenser dot typepad dot com! TENSER SAID THE TENSOR! TENSER DOT TYPEPAD DOT COM!" at the camera until they dragged me away, and them the trouble of dragging me away.
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