Obamifications Denied Word Of The Year

The American Dialect Society has voted "bailout" the word of the year. But the runners-up are much more fun. Words like Obamabot, Obamacare, Obamacism and Obamacise. Call them Obamifications: words manufactured from Barack Obama's name.


We're about to tell you the word of the year. The year was 2008, and the American Dialect Society each year puts out a word of the year. And in 2008, it was bailout. Here are some of the runners-up.

Mr. GRANT BARRETT: (Vice President, American Dialect Society): Obamabonanza, Obamabot, Obamacare, Obamacism, Obamacise, Obamacon, Obamadammerung.

INSKEEP: You could call them Obamifications. Words manufactured from Barack Obama's name. That's Grant Barrett reading the list.

Mr. BARRETT: Obamatard, Obamathon.

INSKEEP: He's vice president of the American Dialect Society. Some of its members thought these words should be the words of the year. It's not about their politics, they say, it's just that the words are fun to say.

Mr. BARRETT: Obamamama, Obamamania, Obamamentum, Obamamerica, Obamanobul. I'm sorry, Obamanable. Obamaination, Obamanation, Obama - Obaman - (laughing) some of these are impossible to say. Obamania. Obamaniac.

INSKEEP: And let's not forget Obamalicious, Obamaphoria and Obamanoxious.

Mr. BARRETT: My favorite pair, though are Obamanation and Obamination. And they differ only by a single vowel. One is a play on Obama nation, you know, referring to a nation of people for Obama. And the other one is a play on abomination, which is a negative. Obviously a word used by the people who did not, or do not, support Barack Obama.

INSKEEP: And for voters who changed direction in midstream, there's this one.

Mr. BARRETT: Obamacon, which is a conservative who's come over to the Obama camp, is a coinage as well.

INSKEEP: And let's not forget Obama's first name. There's Barackiavellian and Baracklamation. And a few that should never have seen the light of day, like the Barack Ness Monster.

Mr. BARRETT: Most of them are doomed to die. They're going to have the life of a mayfly. They'll last about 24 hours. They'll serve their purpose, whatever it might be, for a day or a moment, and they'll never be heard of again.

INSKEEP: Except maybe this one.

Mr. BARRETT: The anti-Obama camp is out there already using NOBama2012 in their emails and on their weblogs. So it looks like NOBama, at least, whatever your politics are, has some legs.

INSKEEP: Grant Barrett is co-host of the public radio show "Away with Words," and vice president of the American Dialect Society. It's announced its Word of the Year for 2008, bailout. Some of the other runners-up were maverick, credit crunch and that old standby, change. It's Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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