Palin’s word of the year

Politics? Pah! She’s got her own TV show, and now Sarah Palin has something else to add to her resume: Coiner of a word of the year.

Last summer Palin posted a Twitter message including the non-word “refudiate”. Critics were quick to jump on this and ask if perhaps she meant something else. Now the New Oxford American Dictionary has named refudiate their word of the year. Apparently she wasn’t the first to use it however:

From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used “refudiate,” we have concluded that neither “refute” nor “repudiate” seems consistently precise, and that “refudiate” more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of “reject.”

Although Palin is likely to be forever branded with the coinage of “refudiate,” she is by no means the first person to speak or write it—just as Warren G. Harding was not the first to use the word normalcy when he ran his 1920 presidential campaign under the slogan “A return to normalcy.” But Harding was a political celebrity, as Palin is now, and his critics spared no ridicule for his supposedly ignorant mangling of the correct word “normality.” (Source: OUP blog)

Word lovers can perhaps breathe a sigh of relief – although it’s been named word of the year, “refudiate” is not guaranteed to make it in to the dictionary. Yet.


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