2012: Curating A Totes Superstorm Of Amazeballs Language

From "YOLO" to "marlarkey," what was the word of last year?

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Peter Sokolowski
Peter Sokolowski is an editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster. He joined Colin and writer Jen Doll to explore the peculiar words of 2012. Photo:Chion Wolf
2012: Curating A Totes Superstorm Of Amazeballs Language
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2012: Curating A Totes Superstorm Of Amazeballs Language

Today, two guests who chronicle shifts in spoken and written English will discuss new words and usages arising in 2012 and doubtless slipping over to 2013.

But first, allow me to mention a few of my own linguistic beefs. Have you noticed how everything is curated these days? We need to stop and have a conversation about what is and isn't the work of a curator.
Also, rescue dog. People -- including people I love with all my heart -- now describe any canine not bought from a breeder as "a rescue dog." If it wasn't grabbed from the edge of a non-fiscal cliff, it probably wasn't rescued, and if it doesn't have a little barrel hanging from its neck, it probably can't actively rescue anybody. 
Having said that, I now admit, we'll probably have a short discussion of "having said that." 
You can join the conversation, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



E-mail from Bob

One other thought on "so" (and glad someone else has noticed its odd use) is that I hear it most often as the beginning of an answer by an "expert" or academic, to a question posed by an interviewer. And I believe it serves to render the interviewer's question less potent. Rather than respect the question by giving a direct reply, the "so" (as you noted) implies that what follows is part of an ongoing conversation which, by the question, an interviewer has (naively?) invited him/herself into.

E-mail from Sara

so much of our language these days comes from the overly dramatic 24 hour news sources. Break-ins are now Home Invasions, stolen credit cards Identity Theft but the most ridiculous is the calling people who chase stories and invent drama journalists.

E-mail from Tanya

My current abhorration is SO, used to begin a comment. This conjunction has such a useful, nuanced meaning that I hate to hear it splattened...


E-mail from Catherine

Hi Colin - Just a quick question....

When did houses start being referred to as "homes"?


What is this phrase everyone has been using recently -

very much so? it sounds so pretentious.


E-mail from PS

When did everybody start using "reach out" to mean the most basic communication or contact? It should be reserved permanently for the Four Tops.