Unfriend is Oxford Dictonary’s word of the year

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Today, Ammon Shea with Oxford University Press on why “unfriend” from the world of social media is the 2009 Word of the Year, and why “netbook,” “intexticated,” and “sexting” were also considered for the honor.

3 Responses to “Unfriend is Oxford Dictonary’s word of the year”

  1. Michael Farley says:

    I just listened to the podcast episode about the Oxford Dictionary’s adoption of the term ‘unfriend’, and wanted to know how this term was vetted to be the Word of the Year? Conducting my own unscientific survey (to reassure myself I’m not out of touch), I asked 18 friends in addition to numerous colleagues: “What is the term used to describe removing a friend from a site such as Facebook or MySpace?” Without exception or prompting the response was: ‘defriend’, not ‘unfriend’. This group aged roughly 38 to 22 years in range.

    As an Advertising and Marketing professional that has used social media for years (personally and professionally), I wonder the validity of a term I have never heard before this ‘news’ article. Could it be I am missing a regional use of the word? My search of the internet in regard to this topic/article revealed no mention of ‘defriend’ as an alternate use in conjunction or comparable to ‘unfriend’. And yet the Urban Dictionary seems to have more entries for ‘defriend’ than ‘unfriend’ (9 compared to 7) and numerous variations of ‘defriend’ compared to ‘unfriend’.

    Love the show.

  2. Jon Gordon says:

    The unfriend/defriend thing is a good point, and I wish I would have asked. I had only heard “unfriend” myself so it did not occur to me. Perhaps I will call the guest back and ask him this question. Stay tuned…

    -Jon Gordon

  3. Doesn’t it say “unfriend” in Facebook and not “defriend”? If so, this may account why a search in Google for those words returns only about 181,000 results for “defriend” and over 11 million for “unfriend”…!

    “Intexticated” only returns about 51,000, “sexting” no surprise at nearly 3 million, and “netbook” at almost 11 million.