The Words of the Year

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Words of the Year

One of the best ways to keep on top of our changing culture is to keep on top of our changing vocabulary.


So let's take a quiz.  Can you give the definition for the following ten words/phrases that emerged over the last year?








Social graph.


Double rainbow.



If you got three or less, it's official.  You need to get out more.


Here's your cheat sheet:


Vuvuzela.  The South African plastic trumpet that was the constant background noise for the World Cup matches in Johannesburg.


i-dosing.  A supposed digital drug.  The contention is that certain

soundwaves give listeners a high.


Belieber.  A fan of Justin Bieber.


G.T.L.  For "gym, tan, laundry," the life philosophy of the Situation from the reality TV show "Jersey Shore."


Coffice.  In South Korea, a coffice is a coffee shop habitually used as an office by customers in order to take advantage of free space, electricity, Wi-Fi and more.


Sofalize.  A British marketing term for people who prefer to stay home and relate to others electronically.


Social graph.  The structure of personal networks, who people know and how they know them (particularly online).


Inception.  From the movie "Inception," the word refers to ideas planted in the dreams of other people.


Double rainbow.  From the wildly popular YouTube video featuring the wonder of someone seeing two rainbows at Yosemite National Park.  It now refers to anything amazing.


E.V.  An electric vehicle.


This is one of the reasons why we continually need new translations of the Bible.  English, as every other language, is living.  Changing.  So the newest edition of the New American Bible, which is the English-language Catholic Bible, will feature some new terms when it is released on Ash Wednesday.


No longer will there be snickers in the pews when the word "booty" is read, meant to refer to financial gain from war.  Now that the term is more commonly seen to refer to someone's backside, it will read "spoils" of war. 


Fifty scholars and translators, linguistics experts, theologians and five bishops spent 17 years on the project.


Don't like the changes?  Well, if you want to refudiate any of this, you can.  You are probably only getting a halfalogue, anyway.  Just don't think about star-whacking me.  Then I'd have to mansplain.


Sorry, more new words.  But like I said, it may be time to get off your booty and get out more.


James Emery White





"The Words of the Year," Sam Sifton and Grant Barrett, The New York Times, December 18, 2010. Read online.


"Bishops boot 'booty' from revised Bible", Cathy Lee Grossman, USA Today, March 2, 2011. Read online.

The Words of the Year