John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another damn word of the year

Every maven and his sisters and his cousins, whom he reckons by the dozens, is pushing a word-of-the-year article or word-of-the-decade article (for that decade that we don’t have a word for, haven’t cared enough about to settle on a word for, and frankly just want to be over).

Even I am not immune to the temptation. So, herewith, my Word of the Year, Word of the Decade:

CRAPTASTIC

A portmanteau word, blending crap and fantastic, not in a favorable connotation, it was particularly beloved among some people whom I know in their descriptions of the work of a particular major media concern. (This description, I realize, will make it impossible for you to narrow the field.)

As a description of the level of public discourse to which we have descended in this waning decade, and particularly as a description of the degeneration of the established news media into drivel, gossip, and irrelevance, it does appear to be the signature word.

Merry Christmas.

8 comments:

  1. Others will suggest this too. I nominate "meep" as a late entry. What better sums up this dismal decade, this pre-decimated century, this where-is-my-jetpack age? Meep!

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  2. Prefer the more explosive, splattershot sound of craptacular.

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  3. Surely mavens reckon their female relatives "up by dozens" rather than "by the dozens"?

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  4. I couldn't help but be reminded of the word "craptacular," a blend of crap and spectacular. I think it was first used on The Simpsons. It seems to have about the same meaning.

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  5. A Dear John Letter.

    Dear John:

    A vertical dotted line between a gray and blue area on a page is a visual distraction.

    Solid line, please.

    Sign me: Computer-Human Interface Design Whiner

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  6. How about crapitalism, a word that implies where my investments went?

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  7. did you know, Nessie3's "crash blossom" term made the NY Times top words of the year list, too. See Ben Schott's blog on language there for the details.

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  8. crash blossom made NYTimes list of 2009 words too

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