The 2015 word-of-the-year candidates so far…

Here’s a quick roundup of candidates for and discussion of the 2015 Word of the Year, which the American Dialect Society has been voting on since 1990. All previous winners are listed here.

This year’s vote will be held January 8, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Nominations for Words of the Year can be submitted all year long to, or via Twitter @americandialect.

Our criteria for words of the year are that the words be as many of the following as possible:

  • It is demonstrably new or newly popular in the year in question.
  • It was widely and/or prominently used in the year in question.
  • It is indicative or reflective of popular discourse or preoccupations.
  • It is not a peeve or a complaint about overuse or misuse.
  • It is a single word, phrase, compound, hashtag, catch phrase, or other lexicalized form.
  • It is not a name or proper noun. See the American Name Society‘s annual vote for those.


— Ben Zimmer, editor of the “Among the New Words” column for the society’s journal American Speech, and the chair of the society’s New Words Committee.

— Nancy Friedman, a professional name developer. “Words of the Year 2015: Fritinancy Edition”

— Anne Curzan, University of Michigan professor in the departments of English and linguistics. Michigan Radio: “Words of the Year with Anne Curzan.”

— Grant Barrett, co-host of A Way with Words. WDPL “Strange Fruit” podcast:  “#StayWoke With 2015’s Words of the Year.”

— Lexicon Valley, a Slate podcast, featuring dictionary editors from Oxford University Press, Merriam-Webster, and “Tears of Joy, Identity, and a Prism of Isms.”

— David Barnhart, lexicographer. “What Will Be Picked for WOTY 2015?”

— Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum: “What will be the 2015 Word of the Year?