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Words of the Year 2007

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Nominations for Word of the Year 2007

 In this episode, Grant offers peek at some expressions he’s nominating for the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year vote in January. Will it be “w00t,” “subprime,” or something else?

This episode first aired December 24, 2007.

Potluck or Pitch-In

 Get out your plastic utensils and pull up a folding chair! A caller’s question about the origin of the word potluck stirs up mouthwatering memories of crispy fried chicken, warm peach cobbler, and Jell-O salad with marshmallows. Okay, the Jell-O salad not so much. But still, whether you call it a pitch-in, a carry-in, dinner on the grounds, a covered-dish supper, a Jacob’s supper, a faith supper, or a potluck, it’s all good eatin’!

Pundit Pronunciation

 An Indiana listener complains that he can’t stand to hear presidential candidates pronounce the word pundit as pundint.

Alliterative Word Puzzle

 Greg Pliska adds an apt and all-round admirably appealing appraisal of alliterative ability. Meaning, our Puzzle Guy presents a quiz about words that start with the same letters. May we just say that Greg gives great game?


 A Florida eighth grader wants to know if a word she memorized for a spelling bee is real: agathokakological. Easy for her to say.


 An American cartographer for the United Nations reports that he and his British wife disagree over whether lollygolly is a real word that means “to dawdle.” Martha and Grant show the mapmaker where to draw the line.


 Martha and Grant discuss a strange new word making the rounds: lecondel.


 The mildly interesting meaning behind one of Grant’s nominations for the 2007 Word of the Year: earmarxist.

Puddle and Hang Paper

 This week’s Slang This! contestant finds out whether the word puddle is a slang term for part of a car’s muffler and if the expression hang paper involves flying kites.

Clarification: Who vs. That

 A Pennsylvania caller asks to clarify the difference between who vs. that.

Mother and Daughter Disagree over “Nummy”

 Finally, just in time for holiday get-togethers, Grant and Martha provide some linguistic family therapy to solve a mother-daughter conflict over whether nummy is a legitimate term. Mom says it’s perfect for describing a delicious meal, but her daughter finds that kind of language embarrassing. Is nummy a real word? Open the hangar, here comes the answer!

We wish you the best of the season!

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by Brian Holland. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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