Oxford Word of The Year: Unfriend


While the 2009 Time magazine “Person of the Year” has been narrowed down to either Twitter or the economy (neither are people, you see), the New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year has been decided. The winner? “Unfriend.

Unfriend: v. To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year…Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

Other words considered for the WOTY:

Intexticated: adj. Distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle.

Funemployed: adj. Taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests.

Birther: n. A conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate.

In honor of the word’s anointing, we’re presenting you with a list of the top five Facebook friends that you’ve always wanted to unfriend. Now you can do so while being grammatically correct. Thanks, Oxford!

1. Farmville Guy/Girl: You know the one. They’re all up in your newsfeed taking in lost animals and asking for help growing their virtual carrots and potatoes. No I do NOT want to fertilize your crops. UNFRIEND.

2. Emo Kid: Listen, this is a whole new, less depressing social networking site — not MySpace. Please stop crying in your Facebook picture, it’s super awkward for the rest of us. UNFRIEND.

3. The Tweet-linker: Hey, Twitter’s cool…when it’s on Twitter. Please keep re-tweets off the Facebook arena, it is not the time or place. Conversely, if you’re going to be updating your status every five minutes, maybe you should pack it up and move to Twitter already. UNFRIEND.

4. The Guy/Girl with TMI: Nobody wants to read your open letter to a scorned lover. Keep your infidelities off the internet, thanks. UNFRIEND.

5. The Spoiler-er: Please don’t post how the Mad Men season finale ended, who won the game or that Ed Norton and Tyler Durden are the same person. I mean…what? UNFRIEND.

Depending on Time’s decision you may soon have the opportunity to be super trendy and unfriend (Word of the Year) people on Twitter (Person of the Year)! If things turn out in the economy’s favor, consider yourself already unfriended by it.