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Merriam-Webster Names Gamer Slang 'Word Of The Year'

Leading U.S. dictionary Merriam-Webster has proclaimed online gamer slang “w00t” as the publication’s word of the year, following an online poll. The word beat rival nominations such as the verb “facebook”, as well as “apathetic” and “hypocrite”.

David Jenkins

December 12, 2007

1 Min Read

Leading U.S. dictionary Merriam-Webster has proclaimed online gamer slang “w00t” as the publication’s word of the year. The word, typically spelled with two zeroes instead of letters, is described as an interjection “expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word ‘yay’”. The word was voted on by visitors to the dictionary’s main website, though the word has not yet been included in a regular Merriam-Webster dictionary. The website notes that the word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of the infamous hacker language l33t (or leet or elite) speak. Although not mentioned in the dictionary’s initial definition it is also noted that the word w00t can also be acronym for “we owned the other team”. Runner-up words in the awards included the verb “facebook”, as well as “conundrum” and “quixotic”. The majority of the runner-up words all have negative or cynical connotations, including “sardoodledom”, “apathetic”, “Pecksniffian”, “hypocrite” and “charlatan”. Merriam-Webster president John Morse suggested that “w00t” reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards, particularly on mobile phones, to type words. "People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A," he said. "This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character."

About the Author(s)

David Jenkins

Blogger

David Jenkins ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and journalist working in the UK. As well as being a regular news contributor to Gamasutra.com, he also writes for newsstand magazines Cube, Games TM and Edge, in addition to working for companies including BBC Worldwide, Disney, Amazon and Telewest.

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