The Corner

Word Up

I hate posting press releases, it only encourages more of them. But I thought readers might be interested:

Webster’s New World® College Dictionary

Fill ‘er up! (with the back yard)

Grass Station is Webster’s New World’s 2007 ‘Word of the Year’

HOBOKEN, NJ, October 29, 2007— Do environmentalists fall asleep to dreams about fields of Iowa corn filling up the tanks of station wagons? What about NASCAR drivers? Maybe they do, if recent advances in technology—and the popular buzz that follows—are any indication.

That’s why the 2007 Word of the Year at Webster’s New World® College Dictionary is: grass station. The term is so hot that it has already appeared on the op-ed page of The New York Times, a worthy successor to the 2006 champion Word of the Year, crackberry.

Grass station, a pun on “gas station,” refers to a theoretical fill-up spot in the not-too-distant future; it reflects America’s growing love affair with hybrid cars and vegetable-based fuels (and words), including ethanol and biomass fuels—some of which really are distilled from plain old grass—said Webster’s New World editors who chose the term from more than 200 buzz-worthy finalists.

Webster’s New World editors and researchers constantly collect examples of emerging English – some 2,000 new examples per month,” explained Editor in Chief Michael Agnes, who helps select the Word of the Year annually with this team, “and choose one word or phrase that captures our imagination.”

Other strong contenders for 2007 Word-of-the-Year honors included these hip and happening coinages:

iPodization The creeping cultural practices and expectations of those for whom a relentless acoustic haze of popular music is mandatory and the consolidation of entertainment and technological novelty is a categorical imperative.

freegan Dumpster-diving goes trendy. Freegans live according to a strict credo: Don’t

buy anything if you don’t need to. As part of an effort to go completely off the

shopping grid, they hunt and gather tossed-out (but still safely edible) food from

restaurants and grocers, then serve it up for dinner. Now that’s a radical idea.

God particle The Higgs boson, the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle of subatomic physics.

It is the theoretical agent that endows the universe with the phenomenon of mass. As such, its power in the scheme of physical reality is so great that the metaphor of God seems necessary.

In most cases, the word designated as Word of the Year word has not yet found its way into the dictionary.

“The choice does not reflect an opinion that the term will eventually be found in the dictionary,” said Agnes. “It’s merely one that made us chuckle, think, reflect, or just shake our heads.”

Through more than five decades of language research, Webster’s New World College Dictionary lexicographers have created a uniquely modern dictionary that helps college students and everyone else understand and use the English language as no other dictionary can. Webster’s New World offers the most readable, precise, and up-to-date definitions on the market. It also contains useful reference materials not found in some other college-level dictionaries:

– a full-color atlas of the world;

an explanation of the rules of punctuation;

– geographical tables;

and scientific and measurement charts.

In addition, the history of the English language is traced—including the identification of unique Americanisms—with detailed etymologies. And the dictionary is printed on high-quality paper that enhances readability and durability.

The official dictionary of the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other leading news organizations for years, Webster’s New World College Dictionary represents the best in linguistic scholarship.

For more information on the lexicographical process behind the dictionary, contact Editor in Chief Mike Agnes for an interview via Susie Dempsey 201/748.5625 or sdempsey@wiley.com

Webster’s New World® We Define Your World®

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