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Unfriend away

November 18, 2009

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word of the year is ‘unfriend.’  Oxford chooses a contemporary word every year to add to its official list.  ‘unfriend’ beat out other doozies like ‘hashtag’ and ‘sexting.’  Wow, what a competitive year.

I am curious how ‘unfriend’ was chosen.  I use dictionaries mainly when I don’t know how to spell something, it is clearly the easiest to spell.  It is even the easiest to understand — one does not need to be a Latin major to know what the prefix -un means.  I bet most of my (few) readers don’t even know what a hashtag is… see my previous twitter post.  I know my friends know what sexting is….

‘Unfriend’ has actually turned out to be a controversial choice.  Yes, people actually care about this stuff.  ‘Defriend’ is Facebook’s official term for the removing of a friend from one’s friend list.  Apparently ‘unfriend’ is the generic social media term for removing a friend.  It is tissues for Kleenex. references a Twitter user who in posting about her frustration with choice actually uses a hashtag.  I wonder what she would have chosen.

‘Unfriend’ is in good company.   in 2004, Merriam-Webster added ‘blog’ and last year it added ‘overshare.’

What do you think should have been chosen?

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