"w00t", an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary.
Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster said "w00t" -- typically spelled with two zeros -- reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and mobile phone text-messaging.
It's like saying "yay", the dictionary said.
"It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all," Merriam-Webster said.
Visitors to Merriam-Webster's Web site were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers.
Runner-up was "facebook" as a new verb meaning to add someone to a list of friends on the Web site Facebook.com or to search for people on the social networking site.
Merriam-Webster President John Morse said "w00t" reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards to type words.
"People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A," he said. "This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character."
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