W00t! I'm The Word Of The Year! Merriam-Webster Is Totally l337!

from the m3rr14m-w3b$73r dept

Back in 2001, the folks at the Oxford English Dictionary caused a little stir with they added Homer Simpson's "Doh!" to their dictionary of the English language. Merriam-Webster has upped the ante now by not only adding "w00t" to the dictionary, but choosing it as the 2007 word of the year. Last year, "truthiness" beat out "google" for the honor. When asked about the numerical characters in word, Merriam-Webster John Webster explained that this "is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character." Um, more efficient? Hardly -- w00t is from leet speak, and the orthographic substitutions of numbers for certain letters are intended to make more secure, yet easily remembered words for passwords. Is Merriam-Webster grasping for attention? With traffic on sites like urban dictionary catching up to Merriam-Webster, perhaps they wanted to curry favor with all of the l33t kids.

Filed Under: dictionary, language
Companies: merriam-webster


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  • identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, 12 Dec 2007 @ 9:54am

    Teachers everywhere are crying

    Greenpeace's whale-naming contest resulted in "Mr. Splashy Pants". A respected dictionary has just accepted a 1337-5p34|

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Haywood, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:01am

    Just sad, that's all

    I saw a list of the added words, I don't know what people will be speaking in the future, but it won't be English, perhaps Ebonics. Ginormous made the list, for Christ's sake. 10 year olds no longer need to improve their skills, the have all they need.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RevMike, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:05am

    English is not like French

    There is no Academy that regulates and defines the language. It grows organically.

    The job of a dictionary is to document the language as it exists, not as someone thinks it should be. Various types of slang gain entrance into the dictionary all the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:06am

    Wrong again, Mike

    But seriously, the internet is making people more intelligent. What with all the grammar and spelling skills it teaches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:06am

    Language changes over time. It's a good thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Trolly McTrollstein, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:08am

    it's more efficient because...

    ... you don't have to use the shift key to make the big letters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Greg, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:13am

    Jesus Christ, that's sad.

    Do people even use the word "w00t" in a non-ironic way? They're jumping on a retarded bandwagon that isn't even current.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gunnar, 12 Dec 2007 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      Dictionaries record usage, they don't judge the worthiness of words, just their meanings.

      I don't think I've ever heard woot used ironically. I've read it used that way, on forums and such, but the people who speak it say it without thought, like they would any other interjection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Me, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:27am

    #7

    "Do people even use the word "w00t" in a non-ironic way?"

    Yes. Online gamers use it all the time as an exclamation of some success or any good thing.

    It's no different than "great". Typically used to denote something good, but commonly used sarcastically to denote something not-so-good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whooz on First?, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:27am

    Bekuz I sed so that's y!

    Who says the way we write now is the best form of written English? My 6-year old girl, in first grade, is taught to spell phonetically now. Half the words she comes up with are better than our normal written words (i.e. shorter and easy to understand). I know exactly what she has written, even though half the words are spelled "incorrectly."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sean, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:28am

    It's not in their online dictionary

    Although I see this reported in several news outlets, I can't find the definition on the Merriam-Webster site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adimax, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:32am

    The Fall of Grammar-tron Nazis...

    Your daughter is going to be dumb when she grows up.

    Unless all the kids are spelling that way now. Weird to wrap my mind around the idea...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gunnar, 12 Dec 2007 @ 11:05am

      Re: The Fall of Grammar-tron Nazis...

      Or she'll use a word processor and chat program with built in dictionary. I'm a copy editor and my spelling is terrible, but pidgin, Firefox and Word all let me know when I've spelled something questionable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:37am

    Leet been around for ages

    My friends used to speak to me in leet back in elementary school, but I never jumped on that bandwagon. I think it is funny that gamers have suddenly taken it over as "their" language when leet-speak has been around for at least 15 years of my life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    rEdEyEz, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:40am

    The enablers of low expectation

    Can a combination of letters - including numbers, be considered an actual word, or is it "$p@m?"

    Is it a verb, adjective, adverb, exclamation?
    Can I multiply, add, subtract, divide?

    ...strange, indeed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shohat, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:52am

    WTF?

    Why not WTF?

    WTF

    Is probably #1 in terms of efficiency. The quantity of untyped text, saved time, so to speak, amounts to millions of lifetimes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Keybored, 12 Dec 2007 @ 10:54am

    WTF

    Is WTF in the dictionary. W00T is a stupid slang word used by very few people. If you don't believe the 'dictionaries' are not trying to define language by choosing one stupid new word over another you are illiterate, inexperienced, innocent, naif, naive, nescient, unconscious, uneducated, unenlightened, uninformed, unknowing, unknowledgeable, unlearned, unlettered, unversed, and/or unwitting.

    jackasses

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 11:13am

    FTW

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    B, 12 Dec 2007 @ 11:36am

    Eh...

    I thought kids turning in papers in text-talk was bad, but this is just insane.
    I'm ok with people using this kind of language online or on their cell phone to chat fast, but once it's introduced to the dictionary, it's fair using in any conversation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff, 12 Dec 2007 @ 11:43am

    soo...

    what the fuck's next? is merriam-webster going to merge with nonsensicon? are they gonna add beginualize to the dictionary since it was in a simpsons episode and a lot of people have seen it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 12 Dec 2007 @ 12:05pm

    Don't forget that dictionaries change the language

    Not just by legitimizing new words and forms, but sometimes by actively "standardizing" language. For example, thanks to Noah Webster's original dictionaries, we use "center" and "theater" rather than the English versions of "centre" and "theatre".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lord Jackenape, 12 Dec 2007 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Don't forget that dictionaries change the lang

      For example, thanks to Noah Webster's original dictionaries, we use "center" and "theater" rather than the English versions of "centre" and "theatre".

      Bloody Yanks! The proper English spelling of w00t is whooughte.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 12:25pm

    is it actually "W00t!" or "w00t!" or just plain "woot"?
    Does case actually matter in this word? Does it have two "0"s or two "o"s (or "O"s)

    And think of all the professional scrabble players out there who are going to feel left-out of this "fantastic" new addition of words. WTF!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 1:04pm

    l33t

    5W337, 7h12 12 4W50m3

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2007 @ 1:05pm

    Technically it is a more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character, but only within the confines of a cell phone number keypad where you have to hit a button multiple times for a single letter. On any standard keyboard, it is not in any way more efficient.

    That being said, I agree that the English language is being destroyed as we speak, and dumb words aren't the half of it. Has anybody else noticed how words like "to, too" and "there, their, they're" and even "lose, loose" are almost never used correctly anymore? I'm even starting to see errors like that in major news articles now. Come on people, it's not that hard to figure out. Quit being so lazy. I am sick of having to interpret the comments from the linguistically-challenged who can't figure out how to use simple words that even a third-grader should know how to use. I think we need to stop and figure out how to use what we've got already before worrying about dumb new words that are nothing more than a fad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fushta, 12 Dec 2007 @ 1:21pm

    Another Suggestion for Websters...

    Eleventy-Brazilian
    Definition: An exaggeratory phrase to mean "a lot of something."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nico, 12 Dec 2007 @ 4:50pm

    WTF

    No one uses w00t anymore.

    Everyone just says pwn or FTW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zabolyx, 13 Dec 2007 @ 2:17am

    Jargon and Slang

    This is nothing new. In fact much of the words you speak today are fairly new to the English language.

    Computer jargon or slang of the 60's and 70's and even newer are finding themselves in the dictionary. Look up floppy, or CD-ROM. Take sweet or rad for instance. These words change and have new slang meanings that are now in the dictionary.

    Sadly the English language allows for many words to have multiple meanings even without counting the slang meanings. That alone can be a very confusing.

    I saw an article that some schools are allowing txt spelling in class. BTW they are considering it a new shorthand style. When my dictonary starts listing words like BFF, B4, WTH, WTF and more I think I'll take Latin back up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    klaatu62, 17 Dec 2007 @ 5:34am

    There should be a limit

    There should be a limit to words that can also be pronounced verbally. We are lucky that Prince's unpronouncable symbol didn't make it into the language!

    Seriously, yes language grows, and that is good, but there should be a difference between actual growth and trendy gobblediegook. maybe we should add ROFLMAO and CUL8ER

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Logan1337, 20 Dec 2007 @ 1:59pm

    @Jeff: "beginualize" isn't a cromulent word, silly.

    @anon26: You misspelled 4W350M3

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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