Omnishambles: the word that sums up the year - official
ON MATERNITY LEAVE. Charlotte Philby is a writer and reporter at The Independent, currently based on the news desk after six years on the Saturday magazine. She has been shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp award for excellence in popular journalism for an undercover investigative into a website offering students up to £15,000 in return for sex. She has also written for cultural magazines including Dazed & Confused and NYLON and contributed to several books, among them a biography of French street artist Blek Le Rat. A mother and born-and-bred Londoner, she spends most of her free time working on her first crime fiction novel.
Tuesday 13 November 2012
Writers of The Thick of It have been credited with creating the Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year. ‘Omnishambles’ is defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations”.
What makes this informal noun so impressive, a spokesperson for the Oxford University Press explained, is its “linguistic productivity”, with off-shoots including ‘Romneyshambles’: “Coined in the UK to describe US presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s views on London’s ability to host a successful Olympic Games”.
Being awarded the Word of the Year does not mean ‘omnishambles’ will automatically go into any Oxford dictionaries. In order for inclusion to be considered, evidence is needed that a word or expression will “stay the course”.
Though the OUP is hopeful: “Omnishambles, derived from omni- (‘all’) and shambles (‘a state of total disorder’), has given rise to its own derivative, omnishambolic, indicating that potentially this is a word with staying power.”
Other expressions on the shortlist include Mobot, Eurogeddon and mummy porn.
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