#WordOfTheYear

Twitter's nothing new, but the American Dialect Society says "hashtag" is 2012's word of the year. We speak with Jason Riggle, a computational linguist at the University of Chicago, about why this was hashtag's breakout year, on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

In addition to an overall "Word of the Year" category, ADS also selects winners in some quirkier categories, like "Least Likely To Succeed." The full list is below, with winners underlined:

WORD OF THE YEAR

YOLO: acronym for “You Only Live Once,” often used sarcastically or self-deprecatingly 
fiscal cliff: threat of spending cuts and tax increases looming over end-of-year budget negotiations 
#hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by a hash symbol (#), used on Twitter to mark a topic or make a commentary
Gangnam style: the trendy style of Seoul’s Gangnam district, as used in the Korean pop song of the same name
marriage equality: legal recognition of same-sex marriage
47 percent: portion of the population that does not pay federal income tax

MOST USEFUL

YOLO: acronym for “You Only Live Once,” often used sarcastically or self-deprecatingly
 -(po)calypse, -(ma)geddon: hyperbolic combining forms for various catastrophes
hate-watching: continuing to follow a television show despite having an aversion to it
beardruff: dandruff from one’s beard 

MOST CREATIVE

mansplaining: a man’s condescending explanation to a female audience 
alpacalypse: the Mayan apocalypse predicted for Dec. 21, 2012 (alpaca + -lypse
gate lice: airline passengers who crowd around a gate waiting to board 
dancelexia: inability to pull off dance moves (such as misspelling “YMCA”)

MOST UNNECESSARY

legitimate rape: type of rape that Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin claimed rarely results in pregnancy
Frankenstorm: term for Hurricane Sandy’s hybrid storm system (after Frankenstein’s monster)
HD: abbreviation for “high-definition,” used for things that could not be high-definition
feels: slangy shortening of “feelings” 

MOST OUTRAGEOUS

Dunlop effect: when one’s stomach protrudes over ill-fitting pants (“belly done lop over the belt”)
legitimate rape: type of rape that Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin claimed rarely results in pregnancy
slut-shaming: attacking a woman for socially stigmatized sexual activity 
butt-chugging: an alcohol enema, used in college fraternity hazing rituals 

MOST EUPHEMISTIC

disruptive: destroying existing business models 
Gray Thursday: name given to Thanksgiving as a shopping day before Black Friday
self-deportation: policy of encouraging illegal immigrants to return voluntarily to their home countries
ratchet: slang term originally referring to “urban divas” now used to mean “ghetto” 
evolution: change of opinion 

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

fiscal cliff: threat of spending cuts and tax increases looming over end-of-year budget negotiations 
superstorm: an unusually large and destructive storm, such as Hurricane Sandy 
MOOC: acronym for “massive open online course” 
marriage equality: legal recognition of same-sex marriage 
big data: large collections of digital information used for revealing behavioral insights

LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED

cray-cray: slangy shortening and reduplication of “crazy”
Gangnam style: the trendy style of Seoul’s Gangnam district, as used in the Korean pop song of the same name 
Windows Metro: name originally used for the Windows 8 operating system
phablet: mid-sized electronic device between a smartphone and a tablet 
YOLO: acronym for “You Only Live Once,” often used sarcastically or self-deprecatingly
meggings: a blend for “male leggings” 

ELECTION WORDS (new category)

47 percent: portion of the population that does not pay federal income tax 
Etch-a-Sketch: metaphor of reinvention used by Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom 
Eastwooding: photo fad inspired by Clint Eastwood’s unscripted speech at the RNC 
Romney/Obama: names of candidates used for blends (Obamaloney, Obamageddon, Romnesia, Romney Hood) 
binders (full of women): term used by Romney in the second presidential debate to describe the resumes of female job candidates that he consulted as governor of Massachusetts 
malarkey: nonsense, empty talk (as used by Biden in the vice-presidential debate)