Oxford: 'Unfriend has real lex-appeal'

Social networking is everywhere these days and that hasn't escaped the lexicographers at the Oxford University Press. They have chosen 'unfriend' as the 2009 Word of the Year.

Apparently nothing earth-shattering is expected during the next 6 weeks but it does give them a jump on rival Merriam-Webster who waits until December to reveal their own Word of the Year.

Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer of Oxford's American dictionary program, describes unfriend as having "both currency and potential longevity." She also coined the quotation used in the title. Critics, meanwhile, maintain that unfriend will be a temporary flash in the pan (but don't unfriend me for repeating that).

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No such word.

If it's not in the OED, it's not a real word as far as I'm concerned and 'friend' is the person not an action of doing something so how can you undo a person? Simple you can't. If anything like Hot said it should be 'unbefriend'.

Exactly. Besides, if we keep adding words to English we're just going to make it the most complicated lanuage on Earth!

Axel said,
Exactly. Besides, if we keep adding words to English we're just going to make it the most complicated lanuage on Earth!

I'm sure we lose them as often as gain them.

Agreed Axel, but I can't get out of my mind why the hell americans think they have the right to tell us English people what does or doesn't count as an English word. It should be up to the English. We wouldn't go round telling other nationalities such as the French or Germans what does or doesn't count as a French or German word so why should it be any different towards the English? If they want to create their own words then they should call them American not English.

As for 'unfriend' the 'un' prefix cannot be used in noun words such as friend and it has two meanings....

1.Not or opposite of.
Examples...unfortunately, unsatisfactory, undesirable,

2.Reverse action.
Example....untie, undo, unscrew, unlock

'unfriend' does not conform to any of these. When you become friends with someone you 'befriend' them with the oppsite being 'Estange'.

Nighthawk64 said,
The English language is slowly being destroyed by internet memes and social networking.

Among other things. Don't these people have anything better to do that pick a word of the year?

It's one of those words that you wouldn't hear outloud. It really only makes sense when on a "wall" or in a "tweet". You forgive the sloppiness of the sentence as you know the user only has 140 characters to play with.

People in my experience just say "removed them from my friends list".

I remove lots of people. It's not because I don't like them, I just never hear from them or can't be bothered to see them on my news feed. (They added me)

lunamonkey said,
People in my experience just say "removed them from my friends list".

This is what I hear people say too.

Does anyone else feel a great sense of loss for the English language? Not only did they legitimise the "word" unfriend, but they actually considered "intexticated" as the word of the year. If I ever hear someone say the word intexticated in a sentence I'm pretty sure I'm going to batter them to death with a mobile phone on principle.

Nihilus said,
Does anyone else feel a great sense of loss for the English language? Not only did they legitimise the "word" unfriend, but they actually considered "intexticated" as the word of the year. If I ever hear someone say the word intexticated in a sentence I'm pretty sure I'm going to batter them to death with a mobile phone on principle.

It is the dawn of newspeak.

goji said,
Uh no.

Unfriend is not a new word, but dates back to 1659.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...oryId=120510385

It says it provides a citation from 1659, but certainly not that it was widely used at that time; and they don't seem to provide the citation anywhere online. I mean, seriously, who used it in 1659? In what context? Was it used more than once? Is the citation from a reputable source or was it found in some quasi-literate man's journal?

If you look far enough back, and my best guess would be that they trawled through a very large amount of text to find that, you can probably find just about any word imaginable; whether it was used correctly or not.

The English dictionary is supposed to be comprised of words in widespread usage that are guaranteed a certain amount of longevity, and I very much doubt anyone could make a strong case that unfriend is either. Adding useless words that will be forgotten in a year or less (anyone remember w00t?) is just aggravating.

/rant

Still, whether the word has any merit or not I suppose I'm still glad they didn't pick intexticated or deleb...

YES Nihilus, glad someone spoke up about it. Most people online have become intolerably lazy. Grammar and spelling are completely forgotten and why type "be right back" when you can shave off 2 seconds and type BRB instead? Now we have "invented" new "words" that aren't really words because Facebook is just that popular? Please.

I don't see what's wrong with using abbreviations. Although I generally agree that the dumbing down of the English language is a bad thing, and that Americans should start calling their language 'American'.

Nihilus said,
It says it provides a citation from 1659, but certainly not that it was widely used at that time; and they don't seem to provide the citation anywhere online. I mean, seriously, who used it in 1659? In what context? Was it used more than once? Is the citation from a reputable source or was it found in some quasi-literate man's journal?

If you look far enough back, and my best guess would be that they trawled through a very large amount of text to find that, you can probably find just about any word imaginable; whether it was used correctly or not.

The English dictionary is supposed to be comprised of words in widespread usage that are guaranteed a certain amount of longevity, and I very much doubt anyone could make a strong case that unfriend is either. Adding useless words that will be forgotten in a year or less (anyone remember w00t?) is just aggravating.

/rant

Still, whether the word has any merit or not I suppose I'm still glad they didn't pick intexticated or deleb...

I'm guessing you didn't' read the article and or listen to the audio clip; congrats.

It still isn't a new word.

"The essence of the meaning has not changed not very much," said Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer at Oxford University Press.

It is the Oxford Dictionary who highlighted this originally in 1659 and again in now 2009.

Lament away.

goji said,
I'm guessing you didn't' read the article and or listen to the audio clip; congrats.

It still isn't a new word.

"The essence of the meaning has not changed not very much," said Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer at Oxford University Press.

It is the Oxford Dictionary who highlighted this originally in 1659 and again in now 2009.

Lament away.

There was no such thing as the Oxford Dictionary in 1659.

As for "the essence of the meaning has not changed not very much,", well, how exactly was it supposed to change? The meaning is apparent, whether the usage is correct/redundant or not.

Anyway, it isn't in the Oxford English Dictionary, I only recently noticed this enitre word of the year nonsense was for the Oxford "American" Dictionary. Figures.

So my argument stands. Although I must admit I've now lost interest somewhat, having found out there are no plans to add this, or "intexticated", to the OED.

Nihilus said,
Does anyone else feel a great sense of loss for the English language?

Certainly. They must've bee on a very bad crack trip for this.

Nihilus said,
Not only did they legitimise the "word" unfriend, but they actually considered "intexticated" as the word of the year. If I ever hear someone say the word intexticated in a sentence I'm pretty sure I'm going to batter them to death with a mobile phone on principle.

If anyone would use any such retarded words around me, I would be very unfriend-ly as well.

goji said,
Unfriend is not a new word, but dates back to 1659.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...oryId=120510385


Rather, it was last used 1659, before it sank into oblivion.
If anything, "unfriend" should be the unword of the year!

That is funny though isnt it? you get into an argument with someone then you go "unfriend" them. I don't think it really matters.

Agreed , If your deleting someone does it really matter if you hurt a feeling or two? Your basically saying "Go away we are not friends any more" lol.

Anaron said,
I've always wondered what happens when you 'unfriend' someone on Facebook. Can they re-add you as a friend?

Unfortunately so, I seem to have acquired a small army of people who keep re-adding me with no intention of ever saying a word. I think you can block them, but in some cases (like fellow co-workers you just don't want seeing your photos) that may be a bit extreme.

Nihilus said,
Unfortunately so, I seem to have acquired a small army of people who keep re-adding me with no intention of ever saying a word. I think you can block them, but in some cases (like fellow co-workers you just don't want seeing your photos) that may be a bit extreme.

Pretty sure you can add them to a list and set up some custom privacy settings so that list can't see your photos. The privacy settings are very extensive.

PureLegend said,
Pretty sure you can add them to a list and set up some custom privacy settings so that list can't see your photos. The privacy settings are very extensive.

Cheers! ^^ Never realised you could make custom lists before, thought it was just friends or friends of friends. That's saved me a fair bit of trouble

I turned off the feature that lets someone else see all the photos with you tagged in them - you can set it so only you can see them... obviously if they are friends with the other person of the pictures are public they can still see them - just not search for them by clicking on "view pictures of me". In my opinion... there is no need for someone else to see all the pictures of "you".

I don't believe they receive any, I've had at least one unfriend and just noticed them missing, never received anything officially.

When you 'unfriend' someone on facebook, what sort of notification do they receive?
I'm planning to reduce a little clutter on my account.

Shiranui said,
When you 'unfriend' someone on facebook, what sort of notification do they receive?
I'm planning to reduce a little clutter on my account.


The person you unfriend will not recieve any notification