I was watching Akeelah and the Bee with my daughter last weekend when Laurence Fishbourne’s Dr. Larabee challenged Akeelah’s grammar when she used the word “dissing” (only words found in the dictionary were acceptable during their lessons). To paraphrase the scene, Akeelah rushes over to the dictionary, looks up the word “diss,” reads the definition, and proceeds to lecture Dr. Larabee that new words are added to the dictionary every year. Well, coolerites and grammar bees, from The Oxford American Dictionary, here are some new words for you to embrace as grammaticaly correct and available for polite discourse: 2009 Word of the Year:

unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook

Word of the Year Finalists (who knew there were finalists, lol):


  • hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
  • intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
  • netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
  • paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
  • sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone

And notable word clusters include some Twitter favorites:

  • Tweeps
  • Twibe
  • Tweetup
  • Tweeple
  • Twitt
  • Tweepish
  • Twitterati
  • Tweetaholic
  • Twitterature
  • Twittermob
  • Twitterverse/sphere
  • Twitterhea
  • Retweet