A View from Herb Brody

What Do You Call This Here Online Journal-like Thing?

Why, it’s a blog, of course! Which happens to be the word most often looked up online during 2004, according to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster. The current edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary doesn’t contain an entry for “blog,” but in the…

  • December 2, 2004

Why, it’s a blog, of course! Which happens to be the word most often looked up online during 2004, according to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster. The current edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary doesn’t contain an entry for “blog,” but in the face of the intense public curiosity about the word, the folks at Merriam-Webster came up with one to post online:

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999): a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer
Sounds about right, if you can get past the redundancy of specifying that a website is online. The widespread need to know what a blog was apparently stemmed in part from the incessant references to the blogging phenomenon during the presidential campaign. Not coincidentally, the runners-up were “incumbent” and “electoral” (people really need to look those up?). Most of the rest of the top 10 also have pretty obvious topical hooks:
4. insurgent
5. hurricane
6. cicada
7. peloton
8. partisan
9. sovereignty
10. defenestration

The exception here is number 10, defenestration. No, there wasn’t an outbreak this year of people throwing stuff out windows. That word apparently wormed its way into the public consciousness by winning Merriam-Webster’s 2004 “What’s Your Favorite Word” survey. As to why it achieved that honor–well, there are some questions that are beyond the powers of mere bloggers to answer.

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