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American Speech 79.3 (2004) 306-316

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Among the New Words

Georgia College & State University

In this installment, we report on the nominations for Words of the Year 2003 that did not win in any category. We give thanks to Kathleen E. Miller for help in finding a William Safire column. Nominators and contributors include William J. Kirwin, Michele Mooney, Thomas M. Stephens, and others whose names we failed to record at the annual meeting.

asshat n Thoughtless or stupid person 2002 Dec 20 Praise be to Allah, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the owner of wherever ye find him, seize him, beleaguer him, and lie in wait for him in every stratagem of war"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Frank Blotto, who said: "I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped, Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders." 2004 Jan 22 Right-Thinking from the Left Coast Ivory Tower Asshat [¶] And the Celebrity Asshat du Jour award goes to: Gwynneth [sic ] Paltrow. [¶] American actress Gwyneth Paltrow said she will not raise her child in the United States because her homeland is too dangerous.May 11 (accessed) There's no telling where some words come from.... From what I can trace back from archived IRC chats, the term 'asshat' was first used in the large European country of Sweden as an alternative for the word 'asshole.' From Sweden, by way of both train and ship, the word found it's [sic ] way to the shores of western France, where it was used by a software coder named Louis (LOO-ee) in a telephone conversation with his second cousin in Newfoundland.... Americans were, at first, wary to this new word. They had grown up using 'asshole,' 'assclown,' (premier in Office Space ) and even 'asshead.' What was to force them to add yet another word to their vocabulary? The Internet, of course! Using radiocarbon dating, we have determined that some of the first widespread usage of the word 'asshat' was in several Kevin Smith fan newsgroups, all located in California. Luckily, there are also Kevin Smith fans in the northeast United States, so the word quickly bounded an entire continent and made it to New York City. [¶] Disclaimer: I made all of this up. I did absolutely no research whatsoever to come up with this. If you have a problem with the way I wrote this, you are in fact an asshat [italics in orginal]. (Most Useful) [End Page 306]

Bennifer; Bennifer J. Afflo n [Ben Affleck + Jennifer Lopez; Bennifer + Jennifer + Affleck + Lopez] Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, a famous Hollywood couple 2002 Dec 26 James Verniere Boston Herald E13 (Lexis-Nexis) Due to killer buzz, Bennifer went belly up on opening day when "Gigli" bombed in theaters all over the nation. 2003 Aug 4 Richard Roeper Chicago Sun-Times News spec ed 11 (Lexis-Nexis) In the new Bennifer J. Afflo movie "Gigli" (pronounced "Showgirls") , he plays a meathead hit man—and she's a lesbian assassin. My favorite scene is when J. Lo's lesbian/stalker/lover shows up and slits her wrists, thus illustrating the urge I was fighting while watching the film. 2004 Apr 17 Jess Cartner-Morley Guardian (London) Final ed np (Lexis-Nexis) Matchy-matchy fashion—as in, a jacket that matches your skirt and shoes that match your bag—is as dated now as an invite to Bennifer's wedding. (Most Unnecessary)

Collyer n Pack rat; person who collects and stores an unreasonable number of things 1983 Feb 8 Michael Kernan Washington Post B1 (Lexis-Nexis) Maybe your mother...


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pp. 306-316
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