Hypermiling and other Words of the Year

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The New Oxford American Dictionary is getting the jump on the Words of the Year season. Yesterday it announced its winner, "hypermiling" (meaning doing nutsy stuff to improve your gas mileage), and runners-up.


Words of the Year lists are shameless bids for publicity, and I'm unashamedly publicizing this one because the New Oxford American is a great dictionary that deserves more recognition than it gets. The fact that the electronic version comes with Macs tells you something.

Full disclosure and more shameless publicity: Oxford has invited me to take part in panel discussions about dictionaries in Cambridge, Mass., this Thursday, November 14 (headliner Simon Winchester), and in Philadelphia next Tuesday, the 18th. I'm not saying nice things about NOAD just for that reason, though. It really is an excellent dictionary.
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Visit Barbara Wallraff’s blog, at barbarawallraff .theatlantic.com, to see more commentary on language and to submit Word Fugitive queries and words that meet David K. Prince’s need. Readers whose queries are published and those who take top honors will receive an autographed copy of Wallraff’s most recent book, Word Fugitives. More

Barbara WallraffBarbara Wallraff, a contributing editor and columnist for The Atlantic, has worked for the magazine for 25 years. She is also a weekly syndicated newspaper columnist for King Features and the author of Word Fugitives (2006), Your Own Words (2004), and the national best-seller Word Court (2000). Her writing about language has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Wilson Quarterly, The American Scholar, and The New York Times Magazine.

Wallraff has been an invited speaker at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the National Writers Workshop, the Nieman Foundation, Columbia Journalism School, the British Institute Library of Florence, and national or international conventions of the American Copy Editors Society, the Council of Science Editors, the International Education of Students organization, and the Journalism Education Association. She has been interviewed about language on the Nightly News With Tom Brokaw and dozens of radio programs including Fresh Air, The Diane Rehm Show, and All Things Considered. National Public Radio's Morning Edition once commissioned her to copy edit the U.S. Constitution. She is a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel. The Genus V edition of the game Trivial Pursuit contains a question about Wallraff and her Word Court column.

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