It’s been quite a newsy week — and throughout all the headlines, one word has stuck out in my mind:
It has shown up in all the obituaries about Joe Paterno, the “winningest coach in college football.”
At first, I thought the reporter was being funny. Then I kept hearing this word. And then I looked it up in the dictionary, finding that it is in fact, a real word, defined as 1) winning most often, and 2) most winning or charming.
This is great news for me, as someone who likes to make up words. If winningest is a real, legitimate word (though Google Chrome’s spell check doesn’t seem to love it…clearly Google Chrome hasn’t read the news this week), then I’ve got a whole list of other words that should be recognized.
- “Bestest.” Elementary-school-aged Lia is screaming for this word to get legitimized. Don’t we all have friends we consider to be our “bestest”?
- “Funnest.” Do you ever find yourself saying, “Wow, yesterday was the fun…er, most fun night ever!” Save yourself from the embarrassment and let’s just make this a real word.
- “Abbrevs.” I know I tend to abbreviate words (who has time for more than two sylls?!), but come on! Shouldn’t “abbreviations,” at the very least, be brief? If words made it to the dictionary based on how often I used them, this one would be a winner (winningest?).
- “Pajamify” and “decontactify.” It’s what you do before you go to bed.
- Adding “-est,” “-ify,” “-er,” or “-ing” to pretty much any word. Word inventors of the world — unitify!
SIDEBAR: What does it mean to “Facebook” someone?
While we’re on the subject of made-up words, I’d like to take this opportunity to help define a fairly new word in our lexicon: “Facebooked.”
The word “Facebook” used as a verb does not mean anything on its own. It must be understood within context.
“Ashley Facebooked me.” Not a proper sentence.
“Remember that girl Ashley I met outside the gym last week? She Facebooked me today and I accepted.” See, it’s clear that it means she sent you a Facebook friendship request.
“I didn’t know what time the brunch was called for, so I Facebooked Carol and she told me it was at noon.” Obviously this means you engaged with Carol in a Facebook message.
“Oooh, who’s that cute new boy in your Spanish class? Let’s be sure to find out his last name so we can Facebook him tonight.” In this sense, “to Facebook” means “to stalk one on Facebook.” Clearly if we don’t know this guy’s last name, we’re not friending him or messaging him. We’re just taking a look.
Without these clarifications, discussions about our favorite social networking site can be confusing and even misleading. Stick to these ground rules and you’ll sure to be the winningest Facebooker out there.