Omnishambles: the word that sums up the year - official


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The Independent Online

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.