Gosh, am I glad that Web of Language blogger Dennis Baron did a roundup of 2008 words of the year -- "frugalista," "hypermiling," "Obama," and "recession," plus five finalists from Webster's New World Dictionary -- so I didn't have to do it.
Baron missed one: "bailout," from Merriam-Webster, a less capricious choice than some of the others in that it was chosen because it "received the highest intensity of lookups on Merriam-Webster Online over the shortest period of time." (Don't examine that claim too carefully!)
The American Dialect Society will have the last word, literally, when it votes on a 2008 word of the year at its annual meeting, in January. It is now accepting nominations, so if you have a candidate, do tell.