Hard News by Russell Brown


Public Address Word of the Year 2016

It’s that time again: the time to find the Public Address Word of the Year. And it really has been a hell of a year. Last year's top five – Quaxing, Red Peak, Twitterati, Ponytail, Campbell Live – was entirely of domestic provenance. Will this year, with its global cray, be different? 

As ever, the Word of the Year 2016 will unfold thus: in the discussion for this post, readers will nominate their favoured words or phrases. Then, after a couple of days of fussing and fighting, I will draw up a short list of nominated words for voting.

There is, of course, history here:

2014’s champ #dirtypolitics was the first hashtag to top the poll, beating out the wistful “at the end of the day”.

In 2013, “metadata” beat out the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year, “selfie”, in a final Top 10 that also included “Lorde and “berm”. (Disappointingly, Lorde did not then go on to record a hit single called ‘Berm’.)

In 2012, “brainfade", “Marmageddon” and “Planet Key” were the key words (and the the case of the winner, the John Key Word). To be honest, it wasn’t a great year for words. 

In 2011, the word “munted” found its its destiny – beating out popular memes “nek minnit” and “ghost chips” for the top slot.

In 2010, of course, Public Address readers bypassed the news and opted for a neologism – the great ungendered insult that was “twatcock”. In 2009, the list was dominated by words involving Michael Laws and an “h” and  in 2008, “credit crunch” came in ahead of “rofflenui”. In 2007, another coinage, “Te Qaeda” topped the poll and in 2006, the big word was “unbundled”.

How will 2015 shape up? Well, that’s up to you.

To recap, the process is this:

- Words are nominated in the discussion for this post. If you want to join in the discussion, you’ll need to register to comment, which will only take a minute. You can make more than one suggestion, but not just reel off all likely contenders in one comment, because that's not really fair. So you can only propose two words or phrases per comment. Try to make a brief argument for your proposed WOTY.

- Eventually, I’ll compile a list of finalists for voting.

- Everyone votes.

- We have a winner!

Did I mention prizes? There are prizes.

I'm usually able to offer a prize to (a) the first person to suggest the winning word or phrase and (b) a voter drawn at random all those who vote.

But this year, there has been a late and generous rush, so I'll work out over the next day or two exactly how it will fall – it looks like I'll be able to do two main prize packages and some smaller ones. Until then, huge thanks to:


The Hemp Store

Plum Jam Designs

La Boca Loca

Pilsner Urquell

Sensitive Boyfriend

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