This year’s list of new words was heavily populated by tech-related words, such as ‘hashtag’ – referring to the way Twitter users tag their material and ‘sexting’ – which is the sending of sexual texts by mobile phone.
Speaking about the verb ‘unfriend’, Christine Lindberg, a language researcher for Oxford’s U.S. dictionary, said: “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year.”
There has been some debate across blogs and Twitter, about whether ‘defriend’ is the more commonly used term, especially when referencing Facebook. However, Oxford spokesman Christian Purdy said researchers found that ‘unfriend’ was more commonly used.
Other tech-related words which made the short list were: ‘paywall’ – which is a way of blocking content online unless a user has paid for access and ‘intexticated’ – which describes people who are distracted by texting while driving.
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