Monday, January 8, 2007


At first glance, you might have read that as woodcraft. No. I'm talking about the craft of words, specifically about the gestation and birth of new ones. Baby words. Proof that English is not a dead language. A confusing one, yes, but far from dead.

I was just reading where Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher, announced the word of the year for 2006 after running an online poll. "Truthiness." Credit for fathering this new word goes to Stephen Colbert, who claims it means "...truth that comes from the gut, not books." Well, he would know, wouldn't he? Being there at conception and all.

On the other hand, the venerable (117 years old) American Dialect Society has chosen "Plutoed" as the word of the year. To "Pluto" is to demote or devalue something, reflecting that innocent planet's eviction from the roster of "real" planets. Personally, I think Pluto has grounds for a good law suit against the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. They didn't even offer to buy out Pluto's contract. It was just "Clear your desk and don't let the door hit you on your southern polar region."

I can understand why Plutoed would be accepted as a valid word. Given the trend toward downsizing in the job market, I think a lot of folks can identify. There's a terrible, gutty "truthiness" to the term, as in, "Whoa, Dude! Pink slip? You've just been Plutoed!"

I was just trying to imagine how it would work on Madison Avenue. There might be more "truthiness" in advertising if the stripped-down economy version was touted as the "Pluto model." Or what if the party of the first part wants to lose the party of the second part and says, "In all truthiness, darling, I think we should Pluto this relationship."?

Uhmmm -- maybe not. The party of the second part might misunderstand and gift the party of the first part with a puppy that looks like Walt Disney's Pluto. Truthiness is, after all, in the gut of the beholder.


Mage said...

Ah, I see that not only are we in on the birth of new words, you are still arranging and rearranging your new blog space. Grey or gray on grey. :)

Dee said...

Uhmm -- Mage, I am completely puzzled. Haven't done a thing to change the color scheme. Don't even know how one could do that.

Lynda-from-Idaho, welcome!

And welcome to all of you signing in. Makes for a lovely gathering around the old kitchen table. Thanks!