Friday, December 14, 2007

w00t! w00t! The Top Ten Words of the Year

You know you're old when you've never used the Word of the Year (until December 14th, that is).

Yes, "w00t" has taken Merriam-Webster's top honor for 2007. In case you're not up on this stuff, last year's word was "truthiness," thanks to Stephen Colbert.

What exactly does "w00t" mean, you may ask? While most people think it is an expression of joy (and it is), it actually is derived from a shorthand language that a lot of online gamers and computer nerds have been using for a while, known as "l33t" (pronounced "leet," meaning elite). It's a combination of letters and numbers that are substituted for proper words. "w00t" is technically shorthand for We Owned the Other Team, and the two O's are actually zeros.

"Owned" has been a gamer term for a really long time, but the funny thing is that it's usually spelled "pwn3d" (or just "pwn" for the present tense). It is widely believed that "pwn" became a unique term to the online world because of how easy it is to accidentally type "p" instead of "o" on the keyboard. Others, however, claim that the term dates back to the game WarCraft, when a coder misspelled "Own" as "Pwn" within the game. Who knows, it's all nerdy! And in case it's not obvious, "pwn3d" usually means "dominated" (but can mean "compromised" when talking about hacking). So shouldn't "w00t" really be "wp0t?" I can't think about this any more, nor can I look at words in the l33t language any longer--they hurt my eyes!

The full "top ten words of the year" list is here. My personal favorite is "blamestorm." It reminds me of how happy I am that I no longer work for The Man!

- e

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