While the New Oxford American Dictionary raised its glass to “locavore” as its chosen Word of the Year (beating out “cougar” and “social graph”), Merriam-Webster proved itself the Dictionary of the People by letting the public pick their 2007 honoree. The winning word based on votes from the dictionary’s website was “woot,” an acronym that emerged from the online gaming community that stands for “we own the other team.” Though usually represented with double zeroes instead of O’s (… it’s a gamer thing), “woot” has already reached a level of prevalence in everyday conversation as an exclamation of triumph or joy. “[Woot is an] ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology,” says M-W president John Morse. Meanwhile, in Japan, “nise” (meaning “fake”) was chosen as the official kanji word of the year, the word having dominated headlines in 2007 with the uncovering of weekly frauds, from fixed sumo wrestling matches to the collapse of NOVA, the country’s largest English-conversation school chain. Runners-up in Japan’s competition included “ran” (meaning confused or in disorder), “utsu” (depressed or melancholy), and “do” (angry, offended).

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