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Bird Got the Word: Hashtag is Word of the Year

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hashtag-abuseIn 2012, not only was a baby girl named Hashtag, but now the word "hashtag" has been awarded the title "word of the year" by the American Dialect Society.

The hashtag, or '#', is a regular feature on Twitter and is making its way into the daily conversations of people who actually say things like "hashtag: awkward" out loud. No wonder then that it is "word of the year".

"This was the year when the hashtag became a ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk," said Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.

"In the Twittersphere and elsewhere, hashtags have created instant social trends, spreading bite-sized viral messages on topics ranging from politics to pop culture."

If the idea that Hashtag is a great word annoys you, then be happy that the rival word "Yolo" was also in the running and didn't win.

Yolo is "Carpe diem" for people that wear their jeans low and their hats backwards, and stands for "you only live once". The phrase "Gangnam style" was another contender.

The winner last year was "occupy". The society says that winning words must either be demonstrably new or newly popular and widely used. In 2010 the winner was "app" and in 2009 it was "tweet".

Sibling organisation the American Name Society voted "Sandy" as its "name of the year" for 2012.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.


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