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And the word of the year is…

pandemic! Would you believe it? It's hardly the most positive word, but I guess its meaning has been fairly well learnt this year. Lexiteria, an online dictionary, said in its press release:

“According to Dr. Robert Beard, the president of The Lexiteria, the company sought a word that stood out in the press, on the Web, and in conversations in the English-speaking world. “Pandemic” replaced the overused and less specific “epidemic” throughout the English press.

“Pandemic stood out because of the threat of a pandemic of the avian flu,” said Beard. “However, the year also saw a pandemic of terrorist attacks in London, New Delhi, Amman, Bali, not to mention a pandemic of hurricanes that has plagued cities all along the US Atlantic and Gulf for several years now.”

The word is made up of two Greek words, pan “all” and demos “people”, the same root found in democracy = people rule “government by the people.” The word epidemic came from Greek epi “on, after” + demos but has come to mean “large-scale outbreak of disease” in English.

The Lexiteria staff decided against new, untried words like “podcast”, “dumpster-diving”, “flexitarian”, “vegan” because it is not clear that they will survive. The electronic revolution has given rise to hundreds of new words that are likely to be replaced in the future.”

Do we have any in our midst bold enough to predict a word of the year for 2006?!


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