'Google' named word of the decade

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In its annual Word of the Year vote, the American Dialect Society (ADS) declared 2009 the year of the "tweet" (noun, a short message sent via the Twitter.com service, and verb, the act of sending such a message). The society announced its choice on January 9, also naming "google" (a generic form of "Google," meaning "to search the internet") as its word of the decade.

The ADS chooses words for their recent prominence or notability in American English. Other word-of-the-year nominees included "H1N1," "fail" (a noun or interjection describing something egregiously unsuccessful, usually used as an interjection: "FAIL!"), and "Dracula sneeze" (covering one's mouth with the crook of one's elbow when sneezing, seen as similar to popular portrayals of the vampire Dracula, in which he hides the lower half of his face with a cape). Nominees for word of the decade included "9/11," "blog," "green," "text," "war on terror," and "Wi-Fi."

Grant Barrett, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society, said of the winning words: "Both words are, in the end, products of the Information Age, where every person has the ability to satisfy curiosity and to broadcast to a select following, both via the Internet. I really thought 'blog' would take the honors in the word of the decade category, but more people google than blog, don't they? Plus, many people think 'blog' just sounds ugly.'"

Founded in 1889, the American Dialect Society comprises "academics and amateurs, professionals and dilettantes, teachers and writers," all of whom contribute to the voting process. Other recent word winners have included bailout in 2008 and subprime in 2007.