If you were to choose the word of the year, the year being 2012, what would you pick? Trust this will be a matter of much enjoyably conflict-filled discussion as we gear up for end of the year word lists. Could it be gaffe? Binders? Malarkey? Could it be a phrase, like fiscal cliff? Or what about something technology-based, or perhaps meme-ready? Maybe it's just portmanteau, given the tendency to portmanteau any and everything nowadays. Or how about such much despised words as literally, actually, or even ... moist?
Oxford University Press has decided on its word(s) of the year, jumping the gun a bit given that it's only November. The holidays creep up on us earlier every year! They've chosen one semantic winner for British users and one for Americans. What are they?
For the British, writes the AP's Jill Lawless, it's omnishambles: “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations." Lawless continues, "Coined by writers of the satirical television show The Thick of It, omnishambles has been applied to everything from government PR blunders to the crisis-ridden preparations for the London Olympics." Excellent, excellent—it beat out shortlisted words like mummy porn (mommy porn to Americans), Eurogeddon, the Mobot (for Mo Farah's victory dance), and, for the love of God, YOLO (You Only Live Once, you guys). Omnishambles has the added benefit of bringing us the term Romneyshambles. This makes it, in the parlance, "linguistically productive."