The lexicographers at the New Oxford American Dictionary developed an ingenious way to make books of word meanings remain culturally relevant.

webisodesEvery year, the architects and keepers of the definitive record of the English language compile a short list of words of particular popular significance that are in the running for Word of the Year.
“Unfriend” took home top honors in 2009, beating out “hashtag,” “sexting,” “death panel,” and “tramp stamp.” Sarah Palin made up the word that won this year.

“Refudiate” is of the former Governer of Alaska’s own mis-invention. It’s a verb “used loosely to mean ‘reject'” that first appeared in a Twitter message from SarahPalinUSA. Nick Bilton at the New York Times describes its etymology as a mashing up of “‘refute’ and ‘repudiate,’ while trying to say something like ‘reject.'”

The list of words refudiated by the New Oxford American Dictionary for the 2010 Word of the Year include “retweet,” “Tea Party,” “top kill,” and “webisode.”

Now, I’m not suggesting that when group of word compilation scientists include “webisode” on a list of culturally relevant terms it signifies web series have finally floated into popular culture’s mainstream. But it does say something. It doesn’t herald mass acceptance and consumption of a new entertainment medium, and I don’t want to attach too much weight to a selection that appears on the same list as the word “gleek” (noun (informal) a fan of the television series Glee), but if a group of word compilation scientists believe “webisde” is as culturally relevant as “vuvuzela,” I think it means the popular conception of web series, web shows, and online video is at least headed in the right direction.

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