Those crazy word-nerds in the American Dialect Society have done it again, coming out with “app” as their Word of the Year for 2010. As even your grandmother probably knows, app is short for software application, and has gained particular popularity in the phrase, “there’s an app for that.” And there now seems to be an app for just about anything, including (as I just discovered) a free TimmyMe app to lead you to the nearest Tim Hortons coffee shop in North America. Oh, Canada!
Another Word of the Year entry that I think is hilarious is Cookie Monster’s “nom,” the joyous sound he makes eating cookies. (And you know how I love Sesame Street!) Nom is also widely used in captions to LOLcats.
The Word of the Year vote is a “fairly light-hearted effort” that aims to find a word or expression that reflects ideas that have occupied the English-speaking world during the year, as in 2009’s “tweet,” 2008’s “subprime” and 2007’s “bailout.” Anyone can nominate a word and the society’s word people vote on them during the Linguistic Society of America’s annual conference in early January. Apparently both words were heavy favourites, with app just edging out nom.
When you think of it, that last sentence would have been completely incomprehensible just a couple of years ago, which underlines the society’s opinion that “language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.”