Hashtag named Word of the Year for 2012

6th Jan 2013 | 17:02

Hashtag named Word of the Year for 2012

Edges out Gangnam Style and YOLO

The American Dialect Society has named 'hashtag' its top word of 2012, following the annual vote from its members.

Hashtag, which means to apply the # symbol before a keyword in order to start or add to a topic on Twitter, became a household term along with the continued growth of the social network throughout last year.

Ben Zimmer, who has the highly prestigious title of chairman of the New Words Committee, said the word had even expanded beyond its main purpose as a "ubiquitous phenomenon in online talk."

He said: "Hashtag could sometimes be heard in oral use introducing a snappy mata-commentary on what had just been said."

Snappy meta-commentary? or slap-worthy?

He's correct, although in our experience, that's not necessarily something to be applauded. Spouting something like "Hashtag Awkwaaaaaard!" usually merits a good slap and rightly so.

The word also gained a little infamy when some presumably Twitter-obsessed parents named their baby 'Hashtag' earlier this year.

Beyond its annoying uses, the hashtag #LastPrintIssue graced the final edition of Newsweek before the iconic periodical went all digital.

Gangnam Style misses out

Hashtag didn't exactly have much competition in 2012 though. It edged out out words (often more than one) like 'Gangnam Style', 'YOLO' (You Only Live Once) and 'fiscal cliff'

Previous winners of the award include 'occupy' (as in Occupy Wall Street), 'app' (another tech big hitter) and 'plutoed' after a cartoon dog, or something.

Via Mashable

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