By Mark Memmott

So, "unfriend" is The New Oxford American Dictionary's "word of the year".

The definition:

To remove someone as a "friend" on a social networking site such as Facebook.

Among the others that were considered:

-- hashtag: Twitter users know that by adding a # -- or a "hash" -- to a word they can then more effectively search for "tweets."

-- intexticated: Driving-while-texting.

-- funemployed: Making the best of losing a job by having some fun.

-- birther: Someone who doubts (despite the evidence) that President Barack Obama was born in the USA.

-- death panel: Made famous by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and others who warn about health care rationing.

But unfriend won out over those and others because "it has both currency and potential longevity," says the dictionary's senior lexicographer, Christine Lindberg.

It seems as if "currency and potential longevity" depend on just how common the act of removing a "friend" from Facebook and similar sites really is. So:

We'll keep the question open until 1 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Later today, All Things Considered plans to have more to say about unfriend's newfound credibility with the lexicographers. Click here to find an NPR station near you that broadcasts the show.

Update at 12:55 p.m. ET: Feel free to use the comments thread to suggest other worthy candidates for "word of the year."

categories: Culture, Fun

12:20 - November 17, 2009