Among the New Words
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American Speech 79.2 (2004) 194-200



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Among the New Words

Georgia College & State University

Following our custom in recent years, we have prepared an installment devoted to the words of the year chosen at the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society. The proceedings, which were held in Boston on 9 January 2004, received a good deal of attention once again from the news media, and word nerds you know became stars on WNYC, CNN, Voice of America, and other radio stations. There was a report on NPR, and newspapers around the world picked up a wire story on the winners. We thank Grant Barrett for putting the nominations and winners on the ADS Web site as soon as the information was available; his efforts saved our voices and kept our cell phone bills in check. The complete list of winners follows:

MOST USEFUL:flexitarian

MOST CREATIVE:freegan

MOST UNNECESSARY:freedom (as in freedom fries)

MOST OUTRAGEOUS: cliterati

MOST EUPHEMISTIC: pre-emptive self-defense

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: SARS

LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: tomacco

BEST REVIVAL (OF AN OLD TERM): spider hole

WORD OF THE YEAR: metrosexual

You may view our entry for SARS in the winter 2003 installment of "Among the New Words" (American Speech 78: 437-38). Entries for the others appear below.

Nominations and citations were sent to us before the meeting by W. Kirwin, Frank Nuessell, and W. R. Walters. Nominations came from those in attendance too, but once again we failed to record their names. We humbly beg their forgiveness.

cliterati n, pl [clitoris + literati] Feminists (some with an announced interest in clitoral stimulation) 1996 Feb 19 Roger Warwick Evening Post (Wellington) 4 (Lexis-Nexis) Since my fall from grace I am no longer considered a member of the glitterati, literati or cliterati, and did not receive an invitation to the casino opening. 2002 Apr 14 Frances Dickenson Independent on Sunday (London) 1-2 (Lexis-Nexis) Let's get the name-calling out of the way first. It's [End Page 194] an act of liberation to grab hold of the verbal sticks and stones that have been hurled at you and toss and twirl them like parade batons. Which is partly why I enjoy being called a lesbian or a dyke and why I revel in collective puns such as The Cliterati and Ladies Who Munch. 2003 Mar 3 Nation 25 New Yorkers Say No to War (NYSNTW) is a good example, says Chris Cuomo, a feminist philosopher now teaching at Cornell University and active in the group, founded just after September 11. Its first meeting, held at Eve Ensler's apartment, was a who's who, as Cuomo puts it, of "the New York cliterati," including Urvashi Vaid, Laura Flanders, Sarah Schulman and other notables. May 3 Emma Tom Weekend Australian Sat preprints ed B31 (Lexis-Nexis; head & text) Cliterati set: members optional / IT'S the clitoris, stupid. After all these years of sexual revolution you'd think the world would have got the message: Most women require clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm. [¶] Yes, I realise it's all terribly shocking and first-wave feminist. But some 1970s trends do last the distance. July 31 Laura Barton Guardian (London) 11 (Lexis-Nexis) Finally, Sidelines would like to wish a happy third birthday to Cliterati, the text-based sex website for women, boasting some 1,500 stories of an erotic nature. You can find Cliterati at www.cliterati.co.uk. Yes, right there. No, no, left a bit, down a bit.

flexitarian 1: n [flexible vegetarian] Vegetarian occasionally eating meat 1998 July 31 John Kessler Atlanta Journal-Constitution 3Q ( Lexis-Nexis)The icky neologism touted by the Food Channel is "flexitarian," which is a meat-eating semi-vegetarian who determines his/her eating preference based on mood rather than ideology. 1999 May 5 Anne Schamberg Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Food 1 (Lexis-Nexis)She has a passion for the occasional pork rind and describes herself as a "flexitarian," meaning that...



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