New Oxford American Dictionary Chooses "Refudiate" As Word of the Year

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 15 2010 1:03 PM

New Oxford American Dictionary Chooses "Refudiate" As Word of the Year

It's Sarah Palin's world ; we just live in it.

An unquestionable buzzmaker in 2010, the word refudiate instantly evokes the name of Sarah Palin, who tweeted her way into a flurry of media activity when she used the word in certain statements posted on Twitter. Critics pounced on Palin, lampooning what they saw as nonsensical vocabulary and speculating on whether she meant "refute" or "repudiate."

From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used "refudiate," we have concluded that neither "refute" nor "repudiate" seems consistently precise, and that "refudiate" more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of "reject."

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A clear test, I think, of the liberal blogger's theory that constantly reporting on and making fun of everything Palin does will somehow diminish her. (For what it's worth, my word processor tells me I am misspelling something when I write "refudiate.")

 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.