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Privacy and Geek are dictionary words of the year

No room for twerking
Wed Dec 18 2013, 11:38
Data privacy agent regulator

TWO DICTIONARIES have picked their words of the year for 2013, and the winners are "geek" and "privacy".

This makes sense to us. Privacy hasn't been far from our thoughts for most of this year, and the other word should be self explanatory.

Geek is the Collins Dictionary word of the year, and the publishing outfit welcomed it in all its glory.

The Collins Dictionary people said that "geek" faced some competition from made up words like Phablet and Twerking, the latter of which apparently is a sort of modern version of St Vitus dancing.

This last year "geek" had something of a renaissance and a reclassification, it said, and now it means something similar to "very keen liking".

"The evolving meanings of words are as interesting as brand new words to Collins. Often we find that they achieve better longevity too. Just compare previous generations' use of words like 'cloud', 'tweet' and 'tablet' to ours," said Ian Brookes, consultant editor to Collins Dictionary.

"'Geek' is a great example of a word that has evolved from having a negative meaning to having a positive one. Dictionary publishers have had to redefine 'geek' to reflect accurately what the word means today. The idea of future generations inheriting a more positive definition of the word 'geek' is something that Collins believes is worth celebrating."

Online word warehouse is probably a little closer to the internet than Collins, and thus its chosen word of the year for 2013 is more relevant to its user base. It chose the word "privacy", it said, because of Edward Snowden's revelations and the existence of Google Glass.

"From PRISM and the Edward Snowden scandal to the arrival of Google Glass, 2013 was the year that the desire to be seen and heard was turned on its head. Consider the following: In January, the TSA scrapped airport body scanners that produce near-naked images of travelers," it said.

"In June, Edward Snowden revealed the widespread global spying program, Project PRISM; In October, Google announced new privacy policy plans that allow the company to incorporate user data into advertisements. The discussion of privacy - what it is and what it isn't - embodies the preeminent concerns of 2013. For this reason, privacy is's Word of the Year." µ


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