Facebook’s “Unfriend” hailed 2009’s Word of the Year

If this is not enough proof on the popularity of social networking sites, then I don’t know what is. J

The word “unfriend” was chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary as the word of the year. It is a verb that means “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.”

An example from the dictionary reads: “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

Senior Lexicographer of Oxfords U.S. dictionary program said the word was chosen because “unfriend” has both “currency and potential longevity”.

“In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal,” she said.

Previous words of the year include locavore (people who eat locally grown food) and hypermiling ( act of modifying cars and driving techniques to maximize petrol mileage).

Source: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2009/11/unfriend_goes_into_the_books.html

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