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w00t! I’m a locavore and I love coffee art!

dictionaryDALLAS, Dec 30, 2007 / FW/ — The title of this article might be incomprehensible and disjointed but they do make sense if you know that three of the words in the sentence have been voted Words of the Year.

Every year’s end is a time of lists. As a journalist, I chose ‘Words of the Year’ for my 2007 ‘list’. I write about fashion and words are my tools, so I am always on the lookout on what are the new words out there and what expressions are making the news.

w00t is Merriam-Webster’s 2007 Word of the Year. As you have surmised, it is an exclamation. Merriam-Webster defined it as ‘expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word “yay”

It’s an alphanumeric word, and according to Merriam Webster themselves, w00t has not made it yet to their regular dictionary. w00t came from the online gaming world, wherein players use numbers and symbols to look like letters.

As for the etymology of the word, according to Merriam Webster, although the double “o” in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for “we owned the other team”—again stemming from the gaming community.

Locavore on the other hand is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 Word of the Year, and defined as “people who use locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives.”

Coined two years ago by four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius, locavore also had ‘environmentally friendly’ connotations. Shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation, hence being a locavore helps an individual to reach being carbon neutral.

Speaking of carbon neutral, it was actually chosen by the New Oxford Dictionary as the 2006 word of the year. Al Gore might have lost the U.S. Presidency, but his ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has won him a Nobel Prize. His work on the environment has a global impact, thus he has won the heart of people from all walks of life, including additions to new words in the dictionary.

The choice of “locavore” for 2007 reflects an ongoing shift in environmental and ecological awareness over the last several years. Lexicographers at Oxford University Press have observed that this social transformation is having a noticeable effect on the English language.

Coffee art is one of the 12 words of the year chosen by Dictionary.com, and defined as ‘any design created on top of espresso, latte or other coffee drink by a barista, especially with milk and cream. Latte art is listed as a synonym.

The three words of the year, chosen by three of the foremost authorities of the spoken and written English language are different, but these words share something in common – all of them were borne out of popular culture.

w00t from the virtual world of online gaming, locavore from the current and very desirable trend of caring for Mother Earth and coffee art from our love coffee as already demonstrated by the rapid growth of coffee bars, the most well-known being Starbucks.

[MARI DAVIS]