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"Unfriend" Is Word Of 2009 Says OUP

In what can be termed as a testimony of the increasing influence of social networking over the contemporary world, the highly venerable Oxford University Press has selected “unfriend” as the word of the year 2009.

Unfriend, which is commonly being used in social networking portals like Facebook, is a verb that implies “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site”, the well-known dictionary publisher noted in announcement.

Speaking about the selection of the word for the coveted title, Christine Lindberg, chief lexicographer for the Oxford’s American dictionary program, said in a statement, “It has both currency and potential longevity”.

“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”, she added.

Other words, which deemed qualified for receiving the highly sought after tag, were from various domains, including dynamic technological trends, politics, the economy, as well as current affairs.

Words from changing technological trends include “hashtag”, which is adding hash sign to a word or phrase to let Twitter users search for tweets similarly tagged; “intexticated”, for when drivers get distracted due to texting while driving; and “sexting” for sending sexually explicit messages and images by mobile phones.

Our Comments

We've never used the word "unfriend" on Itproportal before which means that we're either too old or not hip enough. Anyhow, words and languages in general evolve and the OUP has selected a word that reflects changing cultures.

Related Links

"Unfriend" named word of 2009 (opens in new tab)


Facebook's 'unfriend' defines 2009 (opens in new tab)

(The Globe and Mail)

Breakfast briefing: And the word of the year: unfriend (opens in new tab)


2009 Word Of The Year: Unfriend (opens in new tab)


Facebook’s ‘unfriend’ is Word of the Year (opens in new tab)


Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.