Oxford announced its Word of the Year today, plus the list of runners-up (which included, in alphabetical order: aging in place, bacn, cloudware, colony collapse disorder, cougar, MRAP vehicle, mumblecore, social graph, tase (or taze), previvor, and upcycling).
It's always fun to be involved in picking the word of the year, although after two years of researching, arguing, persuading, and negotiating (not to mention the concentrated application of some world-class Google-fu) to promote my candidates for Oxford's WOTY (2005: podcast, 2006: carbon neutral), it was a relief to let Ben Zimmer take over the heavy lifting … and it means I can do a little second-guessing and show you some of the words on my list that didn't make it to the short list. Call them the runners-up to the runners-up, a sort of semi-honorable mention.
There weren't many, but the ones too good to let get away include:
brick: to cause an electronic device to become permanently nonfunctional (this word got a lot of play when people's cracked iPhones were bricked by the firmware update)
hypermiler: someone who uses various driving strategies to maximize fuel efficiency
griefer: someone who deliberately promotes discord, especially in online environments
jatropha: a plant whose nuts can be used to produce biodiesel
unconference: a conference where the agenda or schedule is set by the attendees
There you have it … if you're hungry for more Word-of-the-Year (or as we call it, WOTY) action, there's always the American Dialect WOTY vote in early January. (This year it's in Chicago!)