And the Word of the Year Is…

And the Word of the Year Is...


Who decides which word is the winner? how do they do it? Apparently, out of all the institutions who choose the word of the year, the American Dialect Society is the most prestigious. This organization is almost a century old and started this contest in 1990. Let’s see some of their past choices:


1997: millennium bug, a bug that causes computers to think that the year after 1999 is 1900.

2003: metrosexual, fashion-conscious heterosexual male.

2006: to be plutoed, to pluto, to be demoted or devalued. (I love it).

2009: tweet. (Just in case you don’t know what it is): a short message sent via the service, and verb, the act of sending such a message.

2010: app. application program for a computer or phone operating system.


As you can see, these are words that have been popular during the year and are in close relation to the use of new technologies, which are the contributors of so many new words. There are other institutions and specially dictionaries in English who also pick a word of the year. Some of those are the Oxford Dictionaries who chose “post-truth” in 2016. The website service chose “xenophobia” on the same year.


And the Word of the Year Is...


What about the Spanish Word of the Year?


In Spanish, the organization in charge of choosing the word of the year is not the RAE (Real Academia Espanola) but the Fundeu, (Fundacion del Espanol Urgente). According to their website, they’re not looking for the prettiest or newest word. The word of the year besides being related to current events needs to have a certain linguistic interest, either by its formation or by the force of its penetration in the common language.


This organization has been choosing the word of the year only since 2013. Let’s see their winners so far:


2013: Escrache: A protest in front of a politician’s place of residence.

2014: Selfi: The adpatation of selfie in Spanish.

2015: Refugiado: Refugee.

This organization picks their list of nominees in December 23rd and then announce the winner on the 30th.

In 2016, there are about twelve nominees for the contest. Some of those words in Spanish are: ‘Posverdad’, ‘youtubero’, ‘populismo’, ‘sorpaso’, ‘bizarro’, ‘LGTBfobia’, ‘papilomavirus’ y ‘videoarbitraje’ and ‘cuñadismo’.

Which one do you think will get it?


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