And the 2012 Word of the Year Is…




Go figure. I had predicted fiscal cliff, but the American Dialect Society went with the pop technology term instead of the political catchphrase. No arguments here. No objections.

Honestly, I only figured out what a hashtag even means quite recently. It’s so new, I still get a red squiggle underneath the word when I type it. I thought YOLO (You Only Live Once) had a good chance, but hashtag sneaked up on me. Didn’t see it coming.

In case you don’t know, a hashtag is a Twitter convention, now being used on other social media sites. It’s a hash or pound sign (#) followed immediately (no space) by a word or phrase. The convention helps organize conversations or mark a topic for easy searching. Honestly, most people I know who use it have no idea what a hashtag really does.

The article published by the American Dialect Society is here.

An explanation of the hashtag concept is here, by Ben Zimmer at

My info graphic, updated with the new word, is below…

Congratulations! #2012WOTY

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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Merri Larsen
    Merri Larsen01-27-2014

    What a fun way to keep abreast of cultural literacy!

  2. Gary Townshende
    Gary Townshende01-08-2013

    The technical term for the symbol, however, is… wait for it…


    Now JJ’s vocab has been expanded by two words. LOL!

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko01-08-2013

      Nice one, Gary. Octalthorpe. Didn’t know that one myself. ­čÖé

  3. Steve

    Now it #allmakessense

  4. Brian Wasko
    Brian Wasko01-08-2013

    It’s good to know stuff!

  5. JJ

    I honestly had no clue what a hashtag was ­čÖé . My vocabulary has now expanded by one word.

    • Will

      Neither did I.

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