Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Graduation Day for Words

Merriam-Webster just announced this year's new entries for the Collegiate Dictionary. According to M-W, the words are picked "after monitoring their use over years."

That's fine for "fanboy," which was, surprisingly, first used in 1919. And for "wing nut," which dates from circa 1900 (perhaps it was used to describe William McKinley's assassin).

But is 10 years really enough time to justify adding "webinar," a "live, online educational presentation during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments"? Isn't it possible that in a couple of years we'll come to our senses and start (or return to) calling this an online seminar? And "mental health day" -- that's a phrase, made up of three words, none of which are even remotely new.

Over the weekend, on NPR, I heard someone mention the word "staycation," for staying home during a holiday weekend. If the good people at Merriam-Webster are reading this -- please give that one a solid 200-year test run.


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