The American Dialect Society selected that as its 2012 winner in Boston Friday night. Executive Secretary and MacMurray professor of English Allan Metcalf was among several members of the society presiding to make the announcement.
Metcalf says the winning word was a surprise last-minute proposal that swept the balloting.
“The person who nominated “hashtag” said the hashtag has changed our way of thinking, because it means whenever we state something, we then put it in a category; you have to think of what category it goes in,” says Metcalf.
“Whether that’s a really good argument or not, that seemed very persuasive to the group, and since the hashtag is a relatively recent thing and people are using it very much on Twitter these days, that seemed appropriate. And that became our word of the year 2012,” he adds.
Other nominees included YOLO, “Gangnam style,” “marriage equality,” and “47 percent. There were other categories such as “most useful,” “most creative” and “most unnecessary,” among others.
You can view the full list of nominated words at www.americandialect.org.