New words with staying power

  • January 5, 2011 - 6:35 AM


Prof. Anatoly Liberman predicts which of these new, lesser-known words will stick in 2011.

Nagivator: (navigator and nag, as in an aggravating back-seat driver)

Verdict: "Generally the rule is, the longer the word, the less chance it has for survival. My feeling here is that it's too long, too artful."

Approximeeting: (approximate and meeting)

Verdict: "This one is very long, and it doesn't really fill a need. It's not like smog, or blog, that gave us new words to describe something that had arrived in our environments. Very low chance."

Wurfing: (internet surfing and work)

Verdict: "I give this one a C-minus. The only way it's going to survive is if there's some extra-linguistic factor, like if a celebrity begins to use it."

Twidower: (Twitter and widower)

Verdict: "Most new words are so clever that they're really too clever, and that's my instinct here. Very low chance."

Vidiot: (video and idiot, as in someone who consumes videos and games to a ridiculous degree)

Verdict: "Of all of these, this is the word that has the best chance. It's nicely clipped and it perfectly says what it aims to say. I would give it an A-minus."

Sprummer (spring and summer)

Verdict: "This one is absolutely hopeless. It's a silly word. You could argue, then, for wartumn. My goodness, who needs these toys?"


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