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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top-10: Non-Words of 2010

You may have recently heard that the Oxford University Press, which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) each year, recently announced the new batch of 2,000 words that have been added to its current edition.

Examples that did make it into the dictionary this year include Netbook – a portable Internet device; Staycation – an at home holiday; freemium – a free premium gift; Jeggings – skin-tight leggings that resemble jeans as well as hundreds of others.

We’ve heard of most of those words. However, I’m interested in the words that did NOT make the cut.

As a tribute to their failure, here are my top-10, favorite Non-Words as determined by the OED for 2010:

10. Pregreening – to creep forwards while waiting for a red light to change

9. Griefer – someone who spends their online time harassing others

8. Accordionated – being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time

7. Earworm – a catchy tune that frequently gets stuck in your head

6. Freegan – someone who rejects consumerism, usually by eating discarded food

5. Locavor – a person who tries to eat only locally grown or produced food

4. Espacular – something especially spectacular

3. Nonversation – a worthless conversation, wherein nothing is explained or otherwise elaborated upon

2. Optotoxical – a look that could kill, normally from a parent or spouse

1. Whinese – a term for the language spoken by children on lengthy trips

It was difficult to choose between Optotoxical and Whinese for the top spot, because I personally experience both on a regular basis.

But I ultimately went with Whinese because it not only captures the whining component but the continually “Why” questions (e.g. Why aren’t we there yet? Why can’t we get ice cream? Why can’t we get something at the gift shop…etc.)

The reason these words didn't make it into the OED is because they haven't penetrated usage by the general populace. So pick one and commit to use it on every occasion possible.

Please let me know which one you think is espacular!

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  1. Nonversation is my new favorite word. Thanks Tor.

  2. Whinese - finally the word I've been looking for.

  3. @Kate, great choice! You're welcomeonback anytime!

  4. @Scott, indeed! For anyone who road trips with little people - it may very well be the most perfect non-word in the English language!

  5. I like Wikism – a piece of information that claims to be true but is wildly inaccurate. In fact, not many people know this but "Wikism" was actually a misspelling of of the Bahamian term, "Tikism", or facts made up by vacationers on beaches by Tiki torches.

  6. I made up the word "incent", I swear. It wasn't in the dictionary prior to me using it, and now it is, case closed.

  7. @Bill, I had long suspected you were the source of that word - but wasn't certain - thanks for the confirmation ;-)

  8. I turned the word "snarky" into a verb...I say to my kids "don't snark at me!" on those rare occassions (ha ha) that they get short with me.

  9. Oh dear goodness. I needed that laugh. I keep giggling at some of these. It is so hard for me to just go with one. I'll have to think on it a bit. One of my choices would definitely have to be Whinese...though I must assure you - said language is NOT only associated with long trips! Haha Funny stuff! I'll have to read back through 'em again!

  10. Oh, I'm definitely going to borrow ESPACULAR. I love how it gives extra emphasis to spectacular. Some things are just that great. Funny post...loved it. And I can definitely relate to the whinese, having a five year old granddaughter!

  11. @Lynda, I liked that one as well - thanks for taking the time to take part in the discussion!