It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when wide-eyed schoolchildren and their parents alike look forward to the celebration that unites the entire globe. Yes, I’m talking about the annual unveiling of the Word of the Year.
Actually, it’s WORDS of the Year, because several lexicographers compete to see who can be the most supercilious, pompous, ostentatious, pretentious, pedantic, and condescending in their selections.
Alas, the annual WOTY awards haven’t been the same since Stephen Colbert lobbied successfully for truthiness roughly 15 years ago. More recently, the selections have been uninspired, bland, insipid, boring, dull, unimaginative, unoriginal, featureless and other adjectives that I absolutely didn’t steal from MSWord’s thesaurus.
Last year, the Oxford English Dictionary picked toxic for their WOTY, while Merriam Webster came up with Justice, dictionary.com chose misinformation, and Cambridge Dictionary settled on nomophobia. No, I had no idea what nomophobia means, either, but it’s clearly such an important word that it might soon obtain 500,000 hits on Google.
You can understand how the judges came up with such uninspired choices when you consider some of the runners-up from 2018, including: big dick energy, cakeism, excelsior, feckless, lodestar, maverick, no-platforming, pansexual, pissant, and techlash. Seriously, I think some of these people need to get out more, which might mean that some of them should get out ever.
When I read the disappointing announcements last year, I thought, “Anybody could do better than this. The dumbest, most illiterate idiot in the world could do better than this.” And when it comes to dumb, illiterate idiots, nobody is more qualified than yours truly.
With all the confidence that comes from not having a clue, the wordalicious team at Dad Writes has been taking note all year, searching boldly and meticulously for the combination of letters that is truly deserving of the WOTY honors. And, we are proud to announce, we truly have all the best words for 2019.
At first, we looked at the most commonly used words, as if this thing was a popularity contest. First, we considered, “both sides,” which is the political equivalent of “whatever.” Then we took a look at “both sides’s” fellow traveler, “whatabout,” which is shorthand for “My side sucks, but you suck worse.”
Ultimately, we disqualified both options because, frankly, we don’t want to encourage anyone to use them. Ever.
Next, we turned to the words that don’t mean what users seem to think they mean. These included literally, diverse, fulsome and grandiose. The challenge here, unfortunately, is that people would still be using the words incorrectly, but they’d be much prouder about doing it.
Then we looked at words that people use to seem more cultured and discerning. We considered and rejected curated, artisanal, plethora and paradigm. Really, who wants to encourage the preening pomposity of artisans who curate a plethora of paradigms?
And finally, after countless late-night conference calls and tear-filled macroaggressions, the diverse cohort at Dad Writes has chosen, selected, opted for and designated as our 2019 WOTY: SURREAL.
Surreal is the perfect word for our Zeitgeist, combining the best of incorrect usage with the worst in triteness and pomposity. Nobody is having a real experience anymore; all of life is simply surreal. Yesterday’s salad? Today's shoes? Riding the elevator with that weird guy from the 12th floor? It was all incredibly surreal. Surreally!!
Surreal is a word so overused that it might as well be an epidemic that’s about to kill us all. By this time next year, we predict that Americans will be exhorting each other to keep it surreal, get surreal, and invest in surreal estate. Online, the technorati will drop IRL and use ISL exclusively, and real will disappear like prithee, gadzooks and whippersnapper.
And when it happens, we’ll all remember that we knew it was coming, that we were warned about this transformation, thanks to the WOTY wordsmiths at Dad Writes. It will all be so, so, surreal.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.