Once Again, The Brits Are Kicking Our Lexiconic Butts

As a certified lover of words, I always patiently await the annual “word of the year” results.

The word of the year is often made up, a new entry to the lexicon, and relates to the popular culture of the previous year.

Previous winners have been things like hanging chad and nukular.

This year seemed ripe with contenders. Gangham style comes to mind. Fracking. 47 percent.

So today I was a little disappointed to learn the word of the year for the US, as determined by Oxford Dictionaries is: gif

Good lord. That’s not a new word. That’s been around forever and I am not sure it was used any more this year than in the past.

So then I checked with SFGate who do their own poll and selection. Their choice this year is fiscal cliff.



Then I noticed that Oxford also lists a UK word of the year. That word for 2012 is: omnishambles

Coined by the writers of the satirical television programme The Thick Of It, an omnishambles is a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.

I like their word better. Much better.

I think I’m going to adopt it.

Image from IBN Live.com.

Somewhere Between the ) and the (

Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly living my life inside the parenthesis.

Defined as a word or phrase that comments on or qualifies part of the sentence in which it is found, I think parenthesis are really just the voice inside my brain.

Facebook status: “Here’s a photo of the most amazing thing I had to eat for dinner tonight!!” (I already feel guilty about too many calories and boy-oh-boy was this meal expensive. But do you think I’m cool?)

Pass a coworker in the hall: “Hey Karen, how are yoooou?” Me: “Oh, I’m great! (I have a great big headache and I need a nap). How are yooou?”

See what I’m saying? I think as I walk through this world there is always a subtext going on in my brain. I know I’m not alone in this. Right? (Yes, Karen, you are the only one with parenthetical sarcasm. Not.)

Checkout at the grocery, Clerk: “Did you find everything ok?”, Me: “Yes, thank you” (oh god please don’t comment on my purchase of a block of Velveeta, two pints of Ben and Jerry’s and a People magazine. Just. Don’t. Say. A. Word.)


Clerk: “Did you find everything ok?” Me: “Yes, thank you” (look at all that healthy food I’m buying. Look at it! LOOK AT IT and then tell me what a healthy little customer I am.)

How about when someone bumps into me on the side walk? Them: “Oh, excuse me!” Me: “No problem.” (What the hell, did you NOT see me? I’m tall and broad and formidable and you are so far up your own bunghole that you couldn’t be bothered to take one step to the friggin left to avoid me?)

In a restaurant: Waiter: “Can I get you something to drink?” My friend “Oh, I’ll just have a water.” Me: “Um. Me too.” (damn, I really wanted, no needed, a cocktail)

I find as the years slip by that keeping what is between the parentheses inside my head gets harder and harder. The urge to blurt grows strong with me.

Lately I tend to find myself muttering the parenthetical text under my breath. I didn’t used to have this problem. The bars on the cage are starting to bend…

Image from CarrieSuzanne.com.