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Monday, December 20, 2010

War of Words: Refudiate v. Austere, Which One is Word of the Year?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 9:00 AM

It's that time of year again, the season where you can take two steps without stumbling over a year-end list, a this of the year or a that of the year. 

Merriam-Webster announced today that "austerity" is the dictionary publishing house's word of the year for 2010. This, a month after Oxford American Dictionary's coronation of the Sarah Palin-elevated "refudiate" for the same honors. 

M-W's selection process is based on searches to their website, often in the wake of news stories ("shellacking," "moratorium," and "socialism" also got top-10 honors), while Oxford bestows honors based on "lex appeal" and the word's notoriety. 

It is, essentially, the difference between TIME magazine dubbing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg "Man of the Year" over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: Pageviews versus topicality. 

What say you, O Daily RFT readers? Refudiate or austere? Zuckerberg or Assange? Do you feel austere about refudiation?

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