'Unfriend' is New Oxford American word of the year

November 16, 2009
View of the Oxford American College dictionary taken in Washington. The New Oxford American Dictionary named "unfriend" -- as in deleting someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook -- its word of the year on Monday. Oxford University Press USA, in a blog post, said "unfriend," a verb, had bested netbook, sexting, paywall, birther and death panel for the honor.

The New Oxford American Dictionary named "unfriend" -- as in deleting someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook -- its word of the year on Monday.

Oxford University Press USA, in a blog post, said "unfriend," a verb, had bested netbook, sexting, paywall, birther and death panel for the honor.

"Unfriend has real lex-appeal," said Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford's US dictionary program.

"It has both currency and potential longevity," she said. "In the online context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for word of the year."

Previous words of the year include carbon neutral, locavore and hypermiling.

Locavores are people who eat locally grown food while hypermilers modify their cars and driving techniques to maximize gas mileage.

(c) 2009 AFP

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