German and English Word of the Year 2009!

Every year we hear about the person of the year, the best movie of the year, the song of the year, so what about the word of the year? Well, since we are a language portal we thought it was important to bring you the Word of the Year 2009 for English and German! Ladies and gentlemen the winners are…


Oxford Word of the Year 2009
to unfriend: To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.
Source: Oxford University Press

American Dialect Society Word of the Year 2008
Source: American Dialect Society

Global Language Monitor Top Word 2009
Source: Global Language Monitor Top Misspelled Word 2009
wich: Refers to either which or witch.

Webster’s New World Word of the Year 2009
Distracted driving: What many are guilty of when they use digital devices on the go.
Source: Webster’s New World


Wort des Jahres 2009 / Word of the Year 2009
Abwrackprämie: scrapping premium for old cars, subsidized by the German government.
Source: Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache

Unwort des Jahres / “Non-word” of the Year 2008
notleidende Banken (needy banks): The same banks that created the crash are now stylized as the victims.
Source: Sprachkritische Aktion

Jugendwort des Jahres / Young People’s Word of the Year 2009
hartzen (to hang around due to unemployment): Derived from a German welfare reform named after one of the initiators Mr. Peter Hartz, long-term unemployed Germans receive “Hartz 4” welfare payments.
Source: Langenscheidt

Did you have any other words in mind? Which words should have been among the nominees?

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