Nominations now being accepted for 2017 words of the year

The American Dialect Society is now accepting 2017 word-of-the-year nominations for the categories and criteria described below. Nominations can be sent by email to or on Twitter to @americandialect.

Since 1990, the society has selected words of the year to highlight language change, to bring a few aspects of the study of linguistics to the public’s attention, and to have a little bit of fun. The lighthearted vote is held each year the time of the society’s annual convention.

This year’s vote will be held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All are welcome to attend the nominating session and to suggest candidates on Thursday, January 4, at 6:15 p.m. Check the conference schedule for the room assignment.

The final vote, also open to all comers, will be held Friday, January 5, at 5 p.m. Check the conference schedule for the room assignment.

The best word-of-the-year nominations are those words that show widespread usage by a large number of people in a variety of contexts and situations, and which reflect important events, people, places, ideas, or preoccupations of English-speakers in North America in 2017.

Nominated words do not have to be absolutely brand new but they should have risen to prominence or reached some kind of peak of popularity in 2017.

For the sake of the vote, “word” is broadly defined to include multiword phrases, compounds, and idiomatic expressions that behave like single lexical items.

Several categories are under consideration:

Word of the Year: An overall word that best characterizes the preoccupations and zeitgeist of 2017.

Political Word of the Year: Words coming out of the world of politics (particularly significant in election years).

Digital Word of the Year: Words relating to technology and online culture.

Slang Word of the Year: Casual, playful, and irreverent words used in opposition to more standard language.

Most Useful: Words with proven utility in their application over the past year (including revivals of older terms).

Most Likely to Succeed: New words that will likely have staying power in years to come.

Most Creative: Words or word elements that display lexical innovation (including newly productive combining forms).

Euphemism of the Year: Softening words used as substitutes for language considered too harsh or offensive.

WTF Word of the Year: Words of questionable merit or practicality that may cause a strong negative reaction in some people.

In addition, ad-hoc categories may be suggested at the nominating session. We have included the additional categories Hashtag of the Year since 2014 and Emoji of the Year since 2015.