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Word of the Year
Based on the clue, guess the Word of the Year, as designated by the American Dialect Society.
Some answers are more than one word, and some are not "words" in the traditional sense.
Last updated: January 22, 2021
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August 22, 2020
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1999: The name of a "bug" that was primed to bring society to its knees. Then nothing happened.
2000: It was "hanging" in Florida ballots, and left the presidential election hanging along with it.
2001: The date of the deadliest terrorist attack in human history.
2002: George Bush insisted that Saddam had them. Turns out he didn't. Or did he? No, wait. He didn't. (Four words).
Weapons of Mass Destruction
2003: The "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" team helped popularize this term for a fashionable but heterosexual male.
2004: The two-word term for a state whose electoral votes were up for grabs in the U.S. presidential election.
2005: Stephen Colbert's coinage for the perception that a proposition is true despite a lack of evidence or logic supporting the proposition.
2006: Past-tense participle describing something that has been demoted or devalued, named after an object that was itself "demoted" in this year.
2007: Adjective describing a risky mortgage that became a much-discussed element of the 2008 global financial crisis.
2008: Term for the government's financial aid that rescued large companies, especially financial companies. Except Lehman Brothers.
2009: A social media message of 140 characters or less.
2010: A program specially-designed for use on a smartphone.
2011: A common verb, used in this specific sense to describe the act of taking over a location as an act of defiance, or to demand change in policy.
2012: An internet neologism used to identify a particular topic, and help determine which topics were "trending."
2013: A common conjunction that internet mavens began using in a facetious and grammatically incorrect way, most commonly preceding the word "reasons." Must have been a slow news year.
2014: Three-word rallying cry born of the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others, that became an influential social movement.
Black Lives Matter
2015: A pronoun that had previously been "plural-only" before gaining acceptance as a singular pronoun in recognition of queer and nonbinary people.
2016: Two-word term for a disastrous and embarrassing situation, often used to describe the United States during this year, especially in election season.
2017: Two-word term describing disinformation spread across social media, or, when used by President Trump, describing any media coverage that did not portray him positively.
2018: Three-word euphemism for detention camps on Texas's southern border where migrant children were held after being separated from their parents.
Tender Age Shelters
2019: Much-discussed grammatical parts of speech (see 2015 answer) by which someone identifies his or her preferred gender.
2020: The name of a bug that actually did bring society to its knees.
Aug 22, 2020
Wow I can see you've put almost of hard work into this!
May 26, 2021
I enjoyed the writing for most of the clues, and bookending the quiz with bugs bringing us to our knees was clever. Have a nomination
May 27, 2021
Wow, thanks. I appreciate it.
May 26, 2021
Maybe consider accepting "garbage" or "trash" for the first word of the 2016 phrase?
May 27, 2021
Good suggestion. I added those and a few more fun type-ins for that one.
Jun 8, 2021
2020...this is the only bug to be scared of :)
Jun 9, 2021
Excellent quiz! Was "they" really plural-only until 2015? How did you manage before that, when not knowing the sex of someone?
Jun 9, 2021
It was. The proper singular pronoun for someone whose sex you don't is "one." It's one of those instances where most of us knowingly use the wrong pronoun because the right word sounds ostentatious. For example, the correct way is to say "It's I" rather than "It's me." But the former makes it sound like you are riding in on your steed, so we just say "it's me" because it sounds more natural. Same with "they," which has always been used informally as a singular pronoun for hypothetical people, but it has recently been accepted as grammatically correct, so it can be used in formal instances (e.g., journalism) as well.
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