In its 17th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted “plutoed” as the word of the year, in a run-off against climate canary. To pluto is to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet. Presiding at the Jan. 5 voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of McMurray College and Professor Wayne Glowka of Georgia College and State University, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. He conducts the column “Among the New Words” in the society’s quarterly journal American Speech.
“It was good that the society focused on a genuine scientific concern,” Professor Glowka said. “Though I believe the nomination came in from outer space.”
Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
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