November 15, 2010

The 2010 "word of the year" is "refudiate."

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:
An unquestionable buzzmaker in 2010, the word refudiate instantly evokes the name of Sarah Palin, who tweeted her way into a flurry of media activity when she used the word in certain statements posted on Twitter. Critics pounced on Palin, lampooning what they saw as nonsensical vocabulary and speculating on whether she meant “refute” or “repudiate.”

From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used “refudiate,” we have concluded that neither “refute” nor “repudiate” seems consistently precise, and that “refudiate” more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of “reject.”
Congratulations to wordsmith Sarah and to all her detractors and fans. We just can't get enough of Sarah and her unique way of expressing herself.

Was there much competition? The rest of the short list, in alphabetical order, was: bankster, crowdsourcing, double-dip (describing a recession), gleek, nom nom, retweet (did "tweet" win in some previous year?), Tea Party, top kill, vuvuzela, webisode.

So the real question is: Why not Tea Party? My political sensors detect liberal bias. There were 2 words associated with the conservative backlash against Obama and the Democratic Congress, and one carried the connotation that the backlash is full of stupid people. If you say, then why wasn't "tea bagger" on the list? The answer is obviously that it's too scurrilous for the dictionary folk. The best argument against the liberal bias theory is that "refudiate" is a coinage that can be used in all sorts of places. It functions as a new word, not simply a name to designate a new thing.

55 comments:

1jpb said...

Does the Rs coming up w/ a new (old) name for themselves really deserve to win.



Not to mention that choosing "Tea Party" would be lame because it's uninterestingly political, like "Carbon Neutral." But, even then, at least "Carbon Neutral" was actually new. Did Althouse miss that "Tea Party" isn't new?

garage mahal said...

Would the Tea Party get mad if we called them the "Dirty Sanchezs"?

Coketown said...

It's all about authorship. Reminds me of Bush's "the French have no word for entrepreneur" gaffe (quip?). If anyone else had said it, it would have been a clever critique of France's work ethic and business culture. But it was Bush. That retard. I'm sure there was more than one high-brow writer who heard Bush's statement and thought, "Humph. I wish I had said that." And I'm sure there's a bunch of writers out there just wringing their hands over the fact that Sarah Palin crafted the word of the year and they didn't.

traditionalguy said...

Not only that, but Sarah said she could use her own new word if Shakespeare could do it... and boy did that irk her critic patrol. (And I want to give the Professor the drop-down duck magic word award, a la Groucho for using "scurrilous" in a sentence. That had been a dead word since the late 1940s).

former law student said...

Nobody knows what the Tea Party movement stands for, other than opposing the Obama administration, while everyone knows what "nom nom" means. "Refudiate's" meaning can be deduced from the components of this portmanteau word. Crowdsourcing fills a void in the language. "Death panel" also should have made it into the dictionary, because its meaning is clear, the phrase has spread widely, and it fills a void in the language.

Big Mike said...

I like "webisode."

I would have been happy if the vuvuzela had never been invented.

former law student said...

I would have been happy if the vuvuzela had never been invented.


The word sounds like the subject of a Nina Hartley instructional DVD.

Hoosier Daddy said...

No one cares what you call us garage. We won you lost.

But we have some nice parting gifts for you.

HDHouse said...

congradulatorial professor Sarah. Your hypocondrigal obamatantious grasp of Angloish is bumblicious.

shoutingthomas said...

Nobody knows what the Tea Party movement stands for, other than opposing the Obama administration...

Apparently, everybody but you, fls, knows what the Tea Party stands for:

1. Lower Taxes
2. Restraint on Spending
3. Smaller Government

So, I guess you are "nobody."

Opposing the Obama administration is a good thing.

So, you've confessed your ignorance. Confession is good for the soul. Maybe you should do some reading.

shoutingthomas said...

congradulatorial professor Sarah. Your hypocondrigal obamatantious grasp of Angloish is bumblicious.

Screw you HenHouse.

May I remind you that you have penned the fucking dumbing statement in the history of the internet:

"Muslims are the new Jews."

And you still show your head around here.

Treacle said...

Ann: "So the real question is: Why not Tea Party?"

Me: Because "Tea Party" is not a new term. It's an old term with a new application. And even then, it's not even a 2010-new application. I recall Rick Santelli screaming for a Tea Party movement in early 2009.

shoutingthomas said...

OK, fls and HenHouse:

Treat us to another hundred posts in which you crow about your incredible intellects.

Jesus, you are really repugnant assholes.

Beth said...

I have found myself using "refudiate"; I think it's an appropriate choice as word of the year. As a portmanteau, it works, in that it expresses something comprehensible and useful.

former law student said...

1. Lower Taxes
2. Restraint on Spending
3. Smaller Government


So does the Tea Party stand for the dismantling of the military-industrial complex and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan? Or do they stand for increasing the national debt?

Or is the Tea Party movement pure fantasy?

Trooper York said...

You know you can treat repugnant asshole with Preparation H.

Or cocco butter.

Trooper York said...

You can get repugnant assholes from eating Mexican food.

Lonewacko gets from just seeing a Mexican.

Trooper York said...

"Nobody knows what the Tea Party movement stands for, other than opposing the Obama administration..."


oooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh,ooooooooohhhhhhhhhh,ooooooooooohhhhhh, Mr. Kotter, Mr. Kotter.

I know with the Tea Party stands for. Making Lonewacko lose his shit.

Hee.

Jim said...

Would the Tea Party get mad if we called them the "Dirty Sanchezs"?

A helpful reminder for our resident Leftists who love to use the term "teabagger."

The use of the "-er" suffix indicates that it is the person PERFORMING the action.

In contrast the use of the "-ee" suffix indicates that it is the person upon whom the action is being performed.

THEREFORE, the "TeabaggER" is the person who is doing the dipping...

Which means that those who would oppose them would be the "TeabaggEES."

Given the choice, I'm sure that more people would choose to be on the GIVING end than the RECEIVING end. But hey, garage, 1jpb, etc., if you enjoy that sort of thing, this is a free country and you can continue to proclaim your enjoyment of said activities to your heart's content.

Or...you could rethink your ill-advised choice of terminology.

Your call.

Trooper York said...

Just in case you don't know what we mean when we say Dirty Sanchez!

Not safe for work music video.

Triangle Man said...

She should be congratulated for her cunning.

traditionalguy said...

Tea was the Coca Cola of its day. The wealth accumulated from that tasty drink with caffeine for a hook is the envy of governments all over this world. We need to start a Coke Party...nevermind.

garage mahal said...

Or...you could rethink your ill-advised choice of terminology.

Your call.


I don't use it personally, but they should be chuckling instead of getting so defensive about it.

shoutingthomas said...

So does the Tea Party stand for the dismantling of the military-industrial complex and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan? Or do they stand for increasing the national debt?

Or is the Tea Party movement pure fantasy?

So, now, fls, you admit that you really did know what the Tea Party stands for.

Why did you play dumb?

But, you added new goals for them, "dismantling of the military-industrial complex and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan."

So, unless they achieve Utopia, you assume they have no program. How about if they reduce military spending by, say, 5%?

Or will only "dismantling of the military-industrial complex and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan" satisfy you.

traditionalguy said...

Triangle man...Saying Sarah is "Cunning" is close to scurrilous language. But we could call her a Computer Communicating Conservative Cunning Caribou Carnivore Commoner Challenging Crashing Con-jobs.

lemondog said...

Appears refudiate did not originate with Palin but another Tea P(ot) (arty)in 1925:

As almost always seems to be the case, this “new word” is not entirely new. New York Times On Language columnist Ben Zimmer found a use going all the back to 1925, in an Atlanta Constitution headline: “Scandal Taint Refudiated in Teapot Case by Court, Fall Says in Statement." In 2006, Historical Dictionary of American Slang editor Jonathan Lighter pointed out Senator Mike DeWine using the word a couple of times, and there’s enough in common meaning-wise and sound-wise between “refute” and “repudiate” to assume lots of others have made the same mistake. Still, if and when “refudiate” appears in a dictionary, it will feature a picture of Palin and no other: She is to “refudiate” as Homer Simpson is to “d'oh.”

veni vidi vici said...

It's a great word; instantly communicates the general meaning behind it in an onomotopoeic way. It deserved to win.

"Tea Party" was a contender? Really? Is the panel really a bunch of idiots?

John said...

I have heard the word before. I never thought anything about it when Palin used it. As pointed out in the post above, it has been in use at since 1925.

Liberals only went crazy because they are ignorant and have a poor understanding of both language and history. They usually have great credentials. But our elite education system has let them down. The good news is that they are generally too stupid to realize this. As they say, you don't know what you don't know.

rhhardin said...

Repudiate comes from pudor, shame. Cf. pudendum.

Palin wanted to avoid that.

On the other hand, futare means to beat.

A safe sex play.

Ankur said...

A word coined by Palin won = LIBERAL BIAS!!11!!

On another note - refudiate won because its a punchy, fun word, you laugh at it, or you laugh with it and in a strange way, it feels like a real word.

prairie wind said...

they should be chuckling instead of getting so defensive about it.

Exactly. Instead, we have idiots like Jim, going on about whether it is better to give than to receive. Oh, good grief. Tea-bagging is so completely not gay-only that treating it as a gay insult or insult of gays or an insult of straights...is just a stupid waste of time. Humorless to boot.

Refudiate is an excellent word! I like it as Word of the year or whatever we're voting for.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do we even have a military-industrial complex anymore? I mean I could buy that line back in the day when we had 200K soldiers in West Germany alone.

Christopher said...

"Congratuladorial, professor Sarah."

Ha, ha. Hey, House, why don't you ask Little Black Jesus how to pronounce "corpsman?"

John said...

"Do we even have a military-industrial complex anymore?"

Not really. But we do have a prison industrial complex. Since that complex supports public sector unions, that is an uncomfortable subject for liberals

Chase said...

retweet (did "tweet" win in some previous year?

I was stunned to find when I visited my future wife at her place of employment - a California School for the mentally and physically disabled children - that she and her coworkers would refer (lovingly) to the children as "tards".

When I asked them why they called the children that instead of "retard", they informed that retard was used after the child repeated themselves. Inside joke I guess.

Shanna said...

Webisode has been around as a word for ages and tea party isn’t new, it’s old. And it’s two words, which is no fun. I like “refudiate” although my Glee loving heart would have been happy with Gleek. I’ve seen a lot more people saying Gleek than refudiate…I think they picked it to make fun of Sarah (although I think there is nothing wrong with making up new words-the point about Shakespeare is well taken).

JAL said...

fls is still confused about the difference between ego and self absorption.

Of course some can never give Sarah Palin credit for anything.

Me, I like refudiate. Works.

Here in the south there are those who use another odd word -- flustration. ;-) Dumb redneck crackers. That works too.

But then, I still use "strategery." Helps soften the blow, with a smile.

Language is fun.

wv hygandi
Useful if you pass Mahatma on the street.

Chase said...

Strategery

Ralph L said...

while everyone knows what "nom nom" means.
Never seen it before, but my brother's previous cat made that noise when he ate.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

This just shows that Palin and her fans are just stoopit, racist quitters....

bgates said...

everyone knows what "nom nom" means

It means that on the 17th word of the sentence, "To combat the divisive and unconstitutional Republican agenda, I will reluctantly take the unprecedented step of nominating Michelle and I to the tenth and eleventh seats on the Supreme Court following passage of the Judicial Reorganization Bill of 2010", the teleprompter broke.

wv 'hiall'. That will be the complete text of the next State of the Union address if the teleprompter breaks right at the beginning.

traditionalguy said...

The more Palin beats the MSM to the punch in every area of political communication, the more they look down their noses at such a shameful quitter who only wanted to make a few dollars of a ghost written book, but could never dare run for President. That is revealing of true ignorance. Palin has been running laps around everybody for a year. She is leading the discussions...not chiming in on the big boys discussions.

Chip Ahoy said...

Coketown, see Snopes [+entrepreneur]

I wish Bush had actually said that because it's funny as hell, but alas, the anecdote is apocryphal. Good because it sounds reasonable to people already convinced of Bush's stupidity, just as 200 million a day Mumbai expense was believable because it comported with preconceptions however well founded.

lemondog said...

This at Oxford University Press:

“Refudiate this, word snobs!”


And OUP lexicographer Christine Lindberg comments thus:
The err-sat political illuminary Sarah Palin is a notional treasure. And so adornable, too. I wish you liberals would wake up and smell the mooseburgers. Refudiate this, word snobs! Not only do I understand Ms. Palin’s message to our great land, I overstand it. Let us not be countermindful of the paths of freedom stricken by our Founding Fathers, lest we forget the midnight ride of Sam Revere through the streets of Philadelphia, shouting “The British our coming!” Thank the God above that a true patriot voice lives on today in Sarah Palin, who endares to live by the immorternal words of Nathan Henry, “I regret that I have but one language to mangle for my country.”

Old RPM Daddy said...

The funnest part of the the whole OUPBlog post? The sputter of offended sensibilities in the comments!

bandmeeting said...

I nominate Austrian for language of the year.

Quaestor said...

Palin's no raconteur, let's face it. The Left will forever flail her back with the Sarah Palin is stupid meme. I'd have more respect for her critics if they were at least as critical of Obama's apparent lapses in common knowledge as they are of Palin's one deficit to date. For example:

According to our exalted One the infantry arm of the United States Navy is the Marine Corpse. (But they're all as good as dead anyway given Obama's rules of engagement, so perhaps he was being witty)

And lo, Lord Zero says the Union comprises 57 states. Well, of course, this is well known to all scions of the Ivy League. We benighted denizens of hillybilly-flyoverland read our history from long-discredited texts. For the benefit of the unwashed I'll list those seven hitherto unknown states:

1) Denial - capital: Pelosiville
2) Anger - capital: Olbermania
3) Bargaining - capital: Bidenburg
4) Depression - capital: Unemployed City
5) Acceptance - capital: none (under construction)

And the two most recent additions are:

6) Addiction - capital: Nicotinopolis (Obama maintains a vacation here)
7) Hubris - capital: none, everybody in Hubris thinks he's the boss

Quaestor said...

True fact: the H.J. Heinz company created a pickle variety for each of the 57 states.

I'm kidding of course. The real truth is Barack asked Michelle for a number that was easy to remember while he was slathering ketchup on his porterhouse.

Coketown said...

Chip ahoy: Thanks for the link! I'm starting to wonder if anything we know about Bush is accurate. But since everyone assumes the story is true, my criticism is still valid. I hope.

Lem said...

She knows nothing..

said a McCain know nothing.

Sarah's coinage and the subsequent refudiation added up to a greater contribution than the putative efforts that granted Obama a Nobel Peace Price.

President Palin is just the icing on the cake.

Ricardo said...

New words get invented all the time. It's just testimony to the obsession with (dislike of) Sarah Palin, that people won't stop jabbering about the things she says and does. With all the buzz of things-Sarah, I'm surprised that TMZ hasn't yet come up with "Images of Sarah Palin going through an airport scanner". We're bound to see something like that soon, in the checkout mag-rack at the supermarket. Oh, am I in the wrong thread?

c3 said...

I thought the word of the year was

RACIST

I guess the award is not based on the number of times the word is used or the volume in which its used.

former law student said...

Of course some can never give Sarah Palin credit for anything.

Huh? I think refudiate qualifies for word of the year. And I would allow the Divine Sarah a second entry, for "death panels." Unless that was considered for 2009 WOTY.

Let us not be countermindful of the paths of freedom stricken by our Founding Fathers, lest we forget the midnight ride of Sam Revere through the streets of Philadelphia, shouting “The British our coming!”

For all intensive purposes, the above is correct. And I think we all should of realized this from the big inning.

Revenant said...

Would the Tea Party get mad if we called them the "Dirty Sanchezs"?

No, but that's obviously a much better name for the illegal immigration lobby, don't you think? :)

"The dirty Sanchezes were demanding a path to citizenship again this week"... I like it.

KS said...

Palin often says "admittance" instead of "admission."