Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You are now my unfriend

Actually, that would be a new coinage. I don't believe that the adjectival nominal form has made it into the dictionary yet, but the verb "to unfriend" has been announced as Oxford's Word of the Year for 2009. Ah, the joys of Facebook neologisms. We may even need a neologism to define this specific category of neologisms. Any suggestions?

Among the others, I have seen 'sexting' cropping up with increasing frequency, but I believe my favorite is 'funemployed.' I have seen first hand the benefits of funemployment, and they seem, well, pretty fun. And "tramp stamp" is so 2004. Other favorites?

On a much less modern note, the English word 'friend' is historically interesting. It is one of the last remaining traces in Modern English of the old present participal suffix (along with 'fiend') so productive in Latin, where it appears as -ent (e.g. nom. sing. dicens [<*dic-ent-s], gen. dicentis). It comes to us through Germanic in which the suffix was largely lost. Thus it was, originally, 'the loving one.'

UPDATE: Stupid Blogger thought the above notation was a faulty HTML tag and cut my post. It has now been restored in full (though too late for GReader to pick it up, unfortunately).


Brett said...

Google Reader now updates your blog entries whenever you update them -- or not long after.

The neologism in the title of your post looks to me like a noun, not an adjective. And if the adjectival form of "unfriend" is "unfriendly," then it has existed for a long time!

lol @ "teabagger" as one of the word-of-the-year possibilities.

adyates said...

I thought about that, but I read it as a predicate adjective used as a substantive--too much Greek, I guess, where the construction is everywhere.

But the adjectival form of 'unfriend' is certainly not 'unfriendly.' After all, you can be very unfriendly with someone and still friends on Facebook!