Posted by: Jack Henry | February 2, 2018

Editor’s Corner: 2008 Words of the Year (Ten Years Later)

Of the three dictionary publishers that choose a word of the year, only Oxford Dictionaries honors a brand-new word (Merriam-Webster and pick old words that experienced a spike in usage over the previous year).

It can be interesting to look back on Oxford Dictionaries’ previous word-of-the-year winners and see which ones have stood the test of time. Here are three nominees from 2008 that didn’t.


This word has nothing to do with aggressively pushing healthy eating habits (“I gave him some okra he couldn’t refuse”). Instead, it refers to rewarding businesses with a carrot, not punishing them with a stick:

  • CarrotMob, carrot mob: a flashmob type of gathering, in which people are invited via the Net to all support and reward a local small ethical business such as a shop or café by all patronizing it at the same time.

The most recent headline I found was from 2013: “Carrotmob Rewards Jonnies Sticky Buns for Going Fair Trade” (CBC, September 30, 2013).

There’s also a competing term for the same idea: buycott.


Of the three words on this list, this is the one I would be least surprised to hear—at least it’s possible to discern the meaning (a frugal fashionista).

  • frugalista: a person who leads a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc.

There are a few thrift stores named Frugalista, and a handful of writers adopted it as a pen name (including Natalie McNeal, who wrote a book called The Frugalista Files).

Though frugalista hasn’t caught on generally, the -ista suffix might have some staying power, also popping up in words like recessionista and stylista.


Sounding like a portmanteau of moo and heifer, it’s no wonder this word didn’t stick around.

  • moofer: a mobile out of office worker – i.e., someone who works away from a fixed workplace, via Blackberry/laptop/wi-fi etc. (also verbal noun, moofing).

I couldn’t find any recent examples of anyone using the word moofer in this sense, but at least one internet commenter is using it as a screen name.

Ben Ritter | Technical Editor | Symitar®
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