- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Oxford chooses ‘omnishambles’ as word of the year
LONDON (AP) - Britain’s media are in a meltdown and its government is gaffe-prone, so Oxford Dictionaries has chosen an apt Word of the Year: “omnishambles.”
Oxford University Press on Tuesday crowned the word _ defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations” _ its top term of 2012.
Each year Oxford University Press tracks how the English language is changing and chooses a word that best reflects the mood of the year. The publisher typically chooses separate British and American winners. This year’s American champion is “gif,” short for graphics interchange format, a common format for images on the Internet.
The editors said gif was being recognized for making the crucial transition from noun to verb, “to gif”: to create a gif file of an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event. And, inevitably, to share it online. Cute kittens, Olympic champions, President Obama _ they’ve all been giffed.
Coined by writers of the satirical television show “The Thick of It,” omnishambles has been applied to everything from government PR blunders to the crisis-ridden preparations for the London Olympics.
Oxford University Press lexicographer Susie Dent said the word was chosen for its popularity as well as its “linguistic productivity.”
She said “a notable coinage coming from the word is Romneyshambles” _ a derisive term used by the British press after U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed doubts about London’s ability to host a successful Olympics.
Omnishambles was chosen over shortlisted terms including “mummy porn” _ the genre exemplified by the best-selling “50 Shades” book series _ and “green-on-blue,” military attacks by forces regarded as neutral, as when members of the Afghan army or police attack foreign troops. (For American English speakers, it’s “mommy porn.”)
The Olympics offered up finalists including the verb “to medal,” “Games Maker” _ the name given to thousands of Olympic volunteers _ and distance runner Mo Farah’s victory dance, “the Mobot.”
Europe’s financial crisis lent the shortlisted word “Eurogeddon,” while technology produced “second screening” _ watching TV while simultaneously using a computer, phone or tablet _ and social media popularized the acronym “YOLO,” you only live once.
The final shortlisted term in Britain is an old word given new life. “Pleb,” a derogatory epithet for lower-class people, was alleged to have been uttered to a police officer by British Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell. He denied using the term, but resigned.
Other words on the U.S. shortlist included Higgs boson (as in particle), superstorm (as in Sandy) and “nomophobia,” the anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone.
All the shortlisted words have made a splash in 2012, but editors say there is no guarantee any of them will endure long enough to enter the hallowed pages of the Oxford English Dictionary.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- FIELDS: Oscars' fantasy on the Left Coast
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again