Friday, December 16, 2011

What's Your "Word of the Year?"

From my beloved Shelf Awareness:'s Word of the Year: 'Tergiversate'

"Tergiversate" ("to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate") was named's 2011 word of the year, the Huffington Post reported, observing: "So we could say that, in 2011, the stock market tergiversated; or that the public tergiversated about Occupy Wall Street."

Jay Schwartz,'s head of content said, "We're taking a stand on this choice. We think that it's immensely rewarding to find existing words that capture a precise experience, and this year, tumult has been the norm rather than the exception. There are contested public spaces around the world, where people are demonstrating in one direction or another. Opinions and circumstances have been oscillating so much."

This year's verbal shortlist included "occupy," "austerity," "jobs" (both the noun and the person), "zugzwang" and "insidious."

Don't know when I'll next be using tergiversate in conversation. Or "zugzwang," for that matter. I have just googled it and found it means "compulsion to move" and is often used in chess. Perhaps I'll tell my Christmas dinner companions that I'm "tergiversating about my zugzwanging."

After which, I'll probably have to dine alone.

Any wonderful words you'd like to share from 2011? What's YOUR word of the year?


  1. Oooo. I LOVE insidious. Such a gorgeous word. But tergiversate is one I'll have to remember.

    Good post.

  2. Take your pick.

  3. He he, this sounds like what I do when it comes to making dinner. :D

  4. Haha! It's okay, your blog fans won't let you dine alone. We might sit at the other end of the table, though. :)

  5. OK, that last sentence sounded more like a tongue-twister. I'm pretty sure my friends would think I was two sips short of a bottle of wine if I tried saying that to them :).


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