Why Tergiversate Is Our 2011 Word of the Year

There are essentially two ways to pick a “word of the year.” One common approach is to select from words whose common usage reflects some quality of the year past. Expect to see “occupy,” “winning,” etc., on many selections this December. Another way involves actually using the dictionary. Is there a word that captures the character of 2011, regardless of its popularity or ubiquity?

In late October, we asked our Facebook fans which method of selection they preferred. Almost 7 out of the 10 of them said it should be a word that aptly defines the spirit of 2011, even if the choice is obscure. We like to listen to our ardent supporters.

Just as you come to Dictionary.com in order to find the precise word you need, we spelunked through our corpus to find that perfect fit for 2011. And so we chose tergiversate, a rare word that means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.” The stock market, politicians and even public opinion polls have tergiversated all year long. Tergiversate is derived from the Latin word “vertere,” to turn. It shares a root with the words “verse” and “versus.” Can’t figure out how to pronounce it? Check out the audio pronunciation. One could say that events in Tahrir Square continue to tergiversate as sharply now as they did in the spring.

Here are a few examples of how the word has turned up in the press. On August 20th, 2011, in The Times of London, Oliver Kamm said, “The tergiversations of stock markets are often puzzling from the outside. They’re no less puzzling from within.” In September, the Baltimore Sun picked tergiversation as its word of the week. Last year in May of 2010, James Surowecki, a staff writer for the New Yorker, used the word to describe German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s economic choices: “Political risk is hard to manage because so much comes down to the personal choices of policymakers, whether prime ministers or heads of central banks. And those choices aren’t always going to be economically rational—witness Merkel’s recent tergiversations.”

To choose a word like “occupy,” “Arab Spring,” or “austerity” would be an evaluation of events from our narrow vantage. We do not yet know what the impact of these events will be on a historical scale, whether there will be any long-term change as a result of the Occupy movement or whether democracy has finally come to the Middle East.

Another way to honor the year in a single word would be to pick a neologism. This year a few words were coined. The New York Times described the “pinking” of America, or the spread of breast cancer awareness through the emblem the color pink. Football hero Tim Tebow unknowingly started a craze: tebowing. To tebow is to kneel on one knee with your hand on your forehead and pray, while everyone around you is doing something else. Fans saw him do this during a game and mimicked it. The results have been an internet sensation, but you won’t yet find the word in our dictionary. More recently, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry created the malapropism “forewithal” to describe how countries should respond to the global financial crisis. The word seems to be a combination of fortitude and wherewithal.

To be candid, there was a very close runner-up for the Word of the Year. When we learned that the word “insidious” originally came from the Latin word insidere which meant “to sit on, occupy,” we nearly chose this dark term. The word insidious attracted attention when the horror film Insidious came out in April of this year, and the term is constantly in the news: insidious diseases, the insidious super-committee, an insidious assault. The word encapsulates a feeling that seems to pervade 2011: “proceeding in a seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect.” Ultimately, though, insidious is too negative to represent the mood of change and transformation that has marked this year as well.

Words of the moment and clever coinages are great fun, but tergiversate continues to resonate across a variety of experiences from the past year. Do you agree? Let us know what you think of our choice and whether we’ve overlooked other candidates.

Why was privacy our 2013 Word of the Year?

Why was bluster our 2012 Word of the Year?

Philadelphia Automobile Auction Disposes of Wide Range of Vehicles.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News January 1, 2004 By Bob Fernandez, The Philadelphia Inquirer Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Jan. 1–Horns honked, echoing in the cavernous former steel plant. Exhaust fumed out many tailpipes. A minivan thumped by on a flat tire, its model year and mileage written in white lettering on the windshield.

In the gathering crowd of about 150 bidders and spectators, expectation and conversation hummed. Then, with a bang of Harry Copeland’s gavel, another auction got under way on a recent Saturday at Capital Auto Auction Inc. in the Northeast.

During the next two hours, 190 vehicles were sold for between $60 and $3,000. Three days later, an additional 150 went in a Capital auction, and still more vehicles remained in the parking lot behind the company’s building.

The year-end holidays are surprisingly busy at Capital Auto, which has carved out an unusual niche in the region’s wholesale industry. The company sells thousands of vehicles, most of which are donated to the Salvation Army and other nonprofit and church groups.

These charitable donations are made heavily in the last two months of the year, when people are thinking about deducting the value of the donated vehicle from their federal income taxes, said Gabe Piorko, general manager of Capital Auto Auction.

Twenty-four hours a day, cars and SUVs are towed into the company’s lots, near the Cottman Avenue exit off I-95, from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Most of them have seen better days and will eventually go for $200 to $1,000. They are purchased in “as is” condition, and Capital Auto takes only cash or credit cards as payment.

Capital charges the Salvation Army and other nonprofits a flat fee for selling them, including the tows to the auction lot. After the sale, proceeds are returned to the charity. Piorko would not disclose his fees, but said Capital attempted to keep fees low and volume high.

“We’re no different than the thrift store,” Piorko said. “You know, when you donate clothes to a thrift store, they sell them. We do the same thing for cars.” Capital Auto has grown in recent years as vehicle donations have become popular with charities as a fund-raising tactic.

In addition, better-quality cars and record new-vehicle sales in recent years are creating a greater need for places to sell used cars, SUVs and pickup trucks efficiently, said Michael Hayes, chief operating officer of the National Auto Auction Association, a trade group in Frederick, Md.

The number of vehicles sold at auctions by his member companies rose 30 percent from 1997 to 2002, from 7.3 million vehicles to 9.5 million, Hayes said. site capital auto auction

Among the nation’s largest auto-auction companies is Manheim Auctions, whose biggest operation is in Lancaster County. It also owns Hatfield Auto Auction in Hatfield, Montgomery County, and the National Auto Dealers Exchange in Bordentown, Burlington County.

Unlike Capital Auto, which runs public auctions and sells to anybody who shows up with money to buy a vehicle, Manheim auctions vehicles only to other auto dealers and wholesalers.

Auto-auction companies allow dealers to unload vehicles they can’t sell, and the auction process sets prices in the used-vehicle market, Hayes said. “It’s a wonderful industry,” he said.

They are part of the broader wholesale industry, which moves products in bulk and is considered important to a smooth-functioning regional economy. The wholesale industry in the Philadelphia area employs 117,500 people, according to state and federal governments. in our site capital auto auction

Employment in the region’s wholesale industry grew by 7.1 percent, or 7,700 workers, in the last decade, or about half the rate of growth of the employment base. Employment in wholesalers that stocked and delivered durable goods, such as used vehicles, grew by 13.4 percent.

Capital Auto Auction, a privately held company with affiliated operations in Washington and New Hampshire, has been part of that growth. It opened here in 1997, selling about 200 cars a week, Piorko said. The company now moves about 600 cars in three weekly auctions, employing 17 people full-time and an additional 15 to 20 part-timers on auction days. They watch the lot, and drive vehicles to the staging area.

Through the week, Capital contracts for about 20 tow trucks to bring the cars onto the lot. Sometimes they pick up a gem. Scheduled for auction in January: a 1991 Alfa Romeo, 1995 BMW, 1970 Cutlass, and a replica of a 1928 Mercedes Benz. Piorko said they had all been donated to charities.

Capital Auto also takes vehicles from auto dealers, leasing companies, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (drug-forfeiture vehicles), and individuals. About half of what it sells comes through donations to the Salvation Army, Piorko said.

A Capital auction takes place in a former steel plant. The floors are thick concrete and the ceilings high, trapping cold air in winter months.

To stay warm, young couples and families — some with children in tow — waited for a recent auction on green lawn chairs parked around portable heaters. Behind them, men in wool hats nursed steaming coffee or chicken-noodle soup in white-foam containers. They were professional mechanics, hobbyists or auto dealers looking for a deal.

Brian Walters, 22, of Philadelphia, was one of those cupping a container of soup. He said he had bought five or six cars at Capital Auto as a sidelight venture in recent years. He works full-time in a warehouse.

Among the cars Walters had purchased at auction were a ’93 Chevy Cavalier for $300 and resold for $800, and a ’72 Buick Electra with leather interior. He bought the car for $650, and resold it, after some minor work, for $8,000. “It’s a hobby,” he said, noting that many of the people there were regulars.

The bidders are allowed to view the cars several hours before the auction. They can look under the hood as the car comes through the auction line. Good cars are interspersed in the auction line with junkers. This keeps bidders on their toes. “You don’t want the guys outside drinking coffee, you want them inside looking at the cars,” Piorko said.

Copeland, the auctioneer, makes the event move fast and attempts to generate enthusiasm. “Hey, we got a tow-through here for you,” Copeland gushed at one point, making it sound as if this “no-run” vehicle was about to get snapped right up. It didn’t.

A little while later, a red Chrysler sedan came through, and Copeland couldn’t get anybody to bite. “You got sixty dollars? She’s a running car!” he said as it was driven off the auction line and out of the building.



  1. Sharon -  November 26, 2012 - 10:02 am

    “Tergiversate” was the Word of the Week last week, written and defined on the big mirror where we do our stretches. I’d never heard of the word, so we were trying to guess its origins. I said I thought it might be like “spoonerism,” that somewhere there’s a guy named Jack Tergivers who could never make up his mind.

  2. Alexis Byishimo -  November 15, 2012 - 5:44 am

    Life is excellent when we know Jesus…i love him with all i am.

  3. tv amr -  February 21, 2012 - 9:21 pm

    Exactly what is the best Canon Powershot electronic (duh) camera? I don’t mind spending time for mostly casual pictures (christmas, birthdays, family reunions that almost stuff). And occasionally several cool artistic photos. Im told than the usual 6-7 mm lens would be the best Rather than whereby, what else is excellent???

  4. Duncan -  February 18, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    @Demacia – the second song is “I Need You” by America. I don’t know what the first song is. However, I have no idea why @jose de claro put them on this thread or forum.

    How about ‘enubilous’ (meaning cloudless) for a future word of the year?

  5. Words I Never Said -  January 17, 2012 - 10:48 am

    Wow… It’s sad that dictionary.com made a whole forum to pretend that they want the people to select the word of the year, but when the people chose a word (OCCUPY), which did not appeal to the public image of certain “occupiers”, who have obvious influence in the selection of dic.com word of the year, it was spun it into a word that defeats the passion, unity, and vigor of the people who were unified by the beautiful changes/ progress that had taken place in 2011… Instead, selecting a word that no one had suggested. A word that will go down in history telling people that 2011 was about indecision or apathy, as opposed to unity, revolutionary change, and reform. And the reasoning is that it is not clear whether or not there will be democracy in the middle east?! How about reading the news?!!! How about Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and the others in pursuit?! How about the reform/ attention to global economies resulting from the Occupy Movements across the US & world? HIDDEN AGENDA is written all over this… I lost respect for you dictionary.com…

  6. Words, words, words « Mighty Red Pen -  December 30, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    [...] named tergiversate  (which I think I’ve finally figured out how to spell) as its WOTY for for reasons that I’m sure seem well thought out to them. To me, it seemed like the year obviously belonged to occupy, both for its ubiquity and its [...]

  7. middle c -  December 15, 2011 - 8:46 am

    I still say zugzwang was a better choice

  8. Nshera -  December 13, 2011 - 3:53 pm

    Occupy is DISGUSTING! :(!

  9. Marceline -  December 9, 2011 - 6:40 am

    ….heyy.. i been foolin’ around in the fire kingdom whats with this stupin wrd ………………………….it should be nightosphere…………………..hahahaha

  10. M-bear -  December 9, 2011 - 6:36 am

    HEY! its me again this wrd haz been stuck in my head 4 ever!!!! and and guess what….. they used this wrd on “The big bang therory!”

  11. E -  December 8, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    @Courtenay, I totally agree with you. Every language has its oddities, and they’re important. Because if everything was spelled fanetikaly, then all of the etymology of the word would be lost. Plus, then, there would be no point in spelling bees!

  12. A pea in the pod -  December 5, 2011 - 5:55 pm

    A new word to make our poetic minds roll…

  13. Cameron -  December 4, 2011 - 6:54 pm

    I have to disagree with the need to repair English by making phonetic spelling that was suggested in an early post.

    English’s beauty is that it word parts carry meaning, not sound. The meaning can be derived from the word itself.

    Hopefully, vocabulary will catch on as a subject to teach thoroughly in school. research is pointing to the vocabulary of a 3 year old as the best indicator of student success. Yep, it’s that soon…age 3.

    Talk to your kids…a lot!

  14. Samuel -  December 3, 2011 - 9:53 pm

    Fascinating word… but of the year? I agree with Paul; it’s a show off word. The Baltimore Sun did good making it the word of the week. The decision kind of reminds me of the one made my the Norwegian Nobel Committee when they awarded Obama the Noble Peace Prize. It’s just too much.

  15. DEMACIA!!!!! -  December 2, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    Nice article, one thing I don’t like about “Word of the Year” is that there are so many of them!!! Dictionary.com has one, Merriam-Webster has one, the American Something-or-Other Society has one, etc.

    @L. Craig Schoonmaker
    How does the correct spelling of a word OFFEND you??? The word ‘tergiversate’ is in no way offensive. Anyway, at least Mark Twain agrees with you about simplifying spelling. :P

    @jose de claro
    What’s with the song??

    No offense or anything, but I’m really tired of people talking about religion in every other Dictionary article. In the one about Catholic Mass, people were posting things like “So-and-so is a fake worshipper, So-and-so is bashing Catholicism, etc.” Seriously? Please post your opinion about Christmas in some blog that is actually ABOUT religion…

  16. Socrates -  December 2, 2011 - 10:00 am

    For etymologists at heart, “tergiversation” itself is a tergiversation. Because its meaning has been constantly changing from its latin origin: tergiversare = to turn one’s back.
    Turning your back on something seems rather different from equivocating, vacillating or repeatedly changing your mind on something. As DENIS points out (v.s.), in french “tergiverser” means to postpone a decision, in spanish “tergiversar” means to distort, to twist. Tergiversation, what a tergiversant word!
    A Hot Word hat trick, congratulations to a most enjoyable exposé!

  17. Denis -  December 2, 2011 - 3:24 am

    in french, tergiverser, means to postpone a decision, to avoid a clear call.

  18. Minkoya -  December 1, 2011 - 10:16 pm

    Thanks for bringing a word ” that I never heard before ”
    Have a good day! :D

  19. JenCraze -  December 1, 2011 - 9:39 pm

    While I appreciate adding this new word to my vocal, I appreciate the process of transparency, thoughtfulness and explanation of how tergeriservate was declared the winning word. Well done, it will occupy my mind for quite some time. :)

  20. Karen F -  December 1, 2011 - 7:56 pm

    Thank you for bringing a new “never before heard” english word for my attention with Tergiversate. I would propose “tumultuous” to encompass the experiences of 2011, the experience of the Occupy movement, the politics, the economy, the real estate, the budget, healthcare reform, etc. But then again, we would have to pick this word year after year… ha ha I like Tergiversate and I will try to encorporate it into my vocabulary. Thank you Dictionary.Com for expanding my word world!

  21. sam -  December 1, 2011 - 7:12 pm

    i love this the app is on my phone and i enjoy it.

  22. M-bear -  December 1, 2011 - 6:28 pm


  23. Nshera -  December 1, 2011 - 4:03 pm

    That is interesting. If any of you here is a Christian, do not celebrate Christmas. You can celebrate it any other day, but Christmas. I will continue in my next comments.

  24. sherryyu -  December 1, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    i ment reccomend

  25. KT -  December 1, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    oh there they are :3

  26. Cyberquill -  December 1, 2011 - 12:22 pm

    Tergiversate? What’s wrong with merkin?

  27. Carol -  December 1, 2011 - 11:13 am

    Reading through the comments, I noticed the one from Nicolas. I was baffled by the English meaning since in Spanish it basically means, “to twist one’s words” or to twist events. In Spanish it is a fairly common word, found often in newspapers, books and in other publications.

  28. Vikhaari -  December 1, 2011 - 11:09 am

    Tergiversate: “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc…”
    Tergiverstae is uniquely wonderful (and/or vise versa) of a term/word and wisely chosen wisely fellow friends–brothers &sisters, usual greetings in my motherland/birthland, belonging globally of mine.
    Tergiversate, this new word of the year must not only be liked, loved and happily to be used also be honoured, respected and cherished.
    Tergiverstae, I must learn you, and know you… & salute you for your deserved win.
    Tergiverstae, thank you & now, you & I let’s roll forward to change… again, & again.

  29. random -  December 1, 2011 - 10:42 am

    Perfect choice for a highly imperfect year.

  30. Ptron -  December 1, 2011 - 10:05 am

    And adrian baker, “y’idiots”? Really? Come on. It’s a frivolous “word of the year” competition. Don’t take it so seriously.

    While I’m replying to your comment, you may disagree with “tergiversate” as the word of the year (I’m not sure I agree), but “occupy” has only been a single part of a turbulent year.

    If any one word could represent the year on a global scale, I’d be more inclined to propose a word like “uncertainty” or “discord.”

  31. Ella -  December 1, 2011 - 9:56 am

    I just read this word in a book! Awesome choice.

  32. Kelly Donovan -  December 1, 2011 - 9:44 am

    Thank you, Courtenay, for answering L. Craig Schoonmaker; it saved me the trouble & your answer was far more eloquent than mine!

    @ adrian baker: No need for your closing remark. Opinions are fine; insults are not.

  33. Darwin Christ Almighty! -  December 1, 2011 - 9:22 am

    @adrian baker
    The word of the year should be EVICT.
    By the way, referring to a group as idiots is not the best way to convince them you are correct.

  34. Ptron -  December 1, 2011 - 8:59 am

    Here, here, Courtenay!

  35. Quizzy -  December 1, 2011 - 8:02 am

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, !

  36. SharaLeigh -  December 1, 2011 - 7:59 am

    Thank you Courtenay for such a well put argument. I fully agree. Dictionary.com is my homepage as I am in love with our language. I enjoy learning new words as well as using them to more fully express myself. In fact, I just wrote “tergiversate” and the latin origin of “insidious” on a small piece of paper that is going up on my refrigerator. Knowlege is good.

  37. David -  December 1, 2011 - 7:51 am

    Well said @ Courtenay (Kort’ne? Kort’ni? Kortenee? Kortenaa?)

    As is evidenced by the fact that, phonetically, I would not spell phonetic with an “a” as it is clearly a long “o” when I say it, (or maybe a schwa?).

  38. LukeJavan -  December 1, 2011 - 7:17 am

    I had a student use it once,and I had heard the term, but had to look
    it up to get the flavor he meant in his term paper. Good choice.

  39. jose de claro -  December 1, 2011 - 7:07 am

    My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why
    I got out of bed alone
    The morning rain clouds up my window
    And I can’t see at all
    And even if I could it’ d all be grey
    But your picture on my wall it reminds me
    That it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

    I drank too much last night, got bills to pay
    My head just feels in pain
    I missed the bus and there’ll be hell today
    I’m late for work again and even if I’m there
    They’ll all imply that I might not last the day
    And then you call me and it’s not so bad
    It’s not so bad

    And I want to thank you for giving me
    The best day of my life
    Ohh, just to be with you is having
    The best day of my life

    Push the door, I’m home at last and I’m soaking
    Through and through then you handed me a towel
    And all I see is you, and even if my house falls
    Down now, I wouldn’t have a clue because you’re
    Near me

    [Chorus:](Repeat 2X)
    And I want to thank you for giving me
    The best day of my life
    Ohh, just to be with you is having
    The best day of my life


    We used to laugh
    We used to cry
    We used to bow our heads then
    Wonder why
    But now you’re gone
    I guess I’ll carry on
    And make the best of what you’ve left to me
    Left to me, left to me

    I need you
    Like the flower needs the rain
    You know, I need you
    Guess I’ll start it all again
    You know, I need you
    Like the winter needs the spring
    You know I need you
    I need you

    And every day
    I’d laugh the hours away
    Just knowing you were thinking of me
    Then it came
    That I was put to blame
    For every story told about me
    About me, about me

    I need you
    Like the flower needs the rain
    You know, I need you
    Guess I’ll start it all again
    You know, I need you
    Like the winter needs the spring
    You know I need you
    I need you, I need you

  40. J -  December 1, 2011 - 6:32 am

    Now that is beautiful. Stop your witless complaining and enjoy the beauty of the language. Thank you D.com for giving us the opportunity and pathway to enrich our vocabularies.

  41. Paul -  December 1, 2011 - 6:28 am

    Never heard of this word before, and I would suggest that if I tried to use it in an actual conversation, all I would be doing would be showing off my obscure vocabulary, which noone would understand… and whatever point I was trying to make would be lost. An awful choice, and a difficult pronunciation to boot. Think about it – the only part of the word that makes any sense to most people is ‘giver’, a popular slang term. You definitely lost it on this one!

  42. Dennis -  December 1, 2011 - 5:23 am

    Hey Courtenay-
    I was going to give a well-thought reply to Craig Schoony that detailed a list of reasons that I disagreed with his oversimplified 3rd grade rant. I just want to thank you for saving me the time- You Rock!

  43. Linda -  December 1, 2011 - 4:16 am

    Well, I looked it up (peeked), and I guess it’s okay to describe a person as insidious. (Stealthily treacherous or deceitful.) I still don’t like it though.

  44. Mish -  December 1, 2011 - 4:13 am

    Touché, Courtenay!

  45. Linda -  December 1, 2011 - 4:11 am

    You refer in your article to “the insidious super-committee.” I believe that is an incorrect use of the word “insidious.” (perhaps the period should be outside the quotes here, but anyway…)

    It’s my understanding that “insidious” refers to an effect but not a person. We can’t have “insidious” people: The tactics of the super-committee caused an insidious erosion of public trust.

  46. Roger Green -  December 1, 2011 - 3:20 am

    I never heard of the word, but I agree with the choice.

  47. L.O. -  December 1, 2011 - 3:17 am

    I think you make some very good points as to why you chose the word you did as “word of the year”, particularly in paragraph five, above: to choose a labeling word would evaluate more than encasulate the global events and mood of the past year. A moniker with a negative connotation would go to the same; as you said, we don’t know the ultimate impact of the year’s events.

    Thank you for a great choice and addition to my personal lexicon!

    Now, if I could only figure out how to get the sound working on this dang laptop so I would know how to say it…:-)

  48. Ammishaddai -  December 1, 2011 - 1:21 am

    Seriously tergiversate does give an idea of a vegetable of some sort doesn’t it?

  49. Ammishaddai -  December 1, 2011 - 1:18 am

    there’s no day i don’t visit dictionary.com

  50. Tergiversate | Shooting Parrots -  December 1, 2011 - 12:44 am

    [...] Hot Word blog has nominated the above as their word of the year, one that sums up the mood of 2011, and I have to [...]

  51. [...] dictionary.com, the selection process is completely transparent, and you can decide for yourself by reading about it on their blog. However to my mind the runner-up is many orders of magnitude better, combining as it does [...]

  52. Raymond -  November 30, 2011 - 7:58 pm

    Before the Tower of Babel fell, they’d built it 43 years in running…

    But fact ’twas naught but the largest hill they sculpted, 43 years…

    And the 43rd year they baked brick, and bricked it brick by brick…

    But, If you think that’s history, What do you say to a complainer…

    Somebody who notices the nonsense they were doing– Do you…

    Who, pays attention to any who at last repeats yesterdays’, jibe…

    The finish of the story is that the wind lifted the brick veneer– off.

    If that, doesn’t explain the situation of politics, nothing better will.

    The question is, What is the mean and variance of tergiversate?!

    Boy, those politicophytes, Who, said it best, “Dum, da da dum–”

    (DISCLAIMER: Not a comment on the “We are Farmers,” jingle.)

  53. Antonia -  November 30, 2011 - 7:51 pm

    I will say that the world of the year should be Organic.

  54. Bill -  November 30, 2011 - 7:47 pm

    The funniest thing about Craig L. Schoonmaker’s little rant is his own surname. I’m guessing the way he pronounces it varies quite widely from how the Dutch would pronounce it, which includes a sound on the first syllable like they’re clearing some phelgm from the back of a throat.

  55. someone -  November 30, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    This is an awesome word to be chosen for word of the year or whatever it is called. I wonder who searched it up first, and I wonder how many words there are in the whole entire universe!?!

  56. someone -  November 30, 2011 - 6:32 pm

    This is an awesome word to be chosen for word of the year or whatever it is called.

  57. Alexandria Lanai -  November 30, 2011 - 4:49 pm

    This is an amazing word! I love it and it totally suits what 2011 was like for me! A year of changes with a cause as it’s catalyst! :)

  58. Dan the Man -  November 30, 2011 - 3:51 pm


    @ L. Craig Schoonmaker, not L. Shoemaker

  59. Dan the Man -  November 30, 2011 - 3:51 pm

    @ L ShoeMaker:

    It is not solely spelling that complicates our language. I have been studying world languages for several years now, and English has the most complex grammar of any language. (A popular misconception is that Chinese is harder; which is in fact untrue. It is harder to read because it has evolved into over 20 spoken languages, but a writing system that uses symbols for each word, rendering the task of learning to read in a Chinese language a difficult feat. It does, however, have a very simple syntax as to what is correct). I digress; Even if we were to change the spelling of English to be like Spanish or Italian (words sound like they are spelled); this would not solve the problem. Just looking at the syntax of a simple sentence in English would show that it is much more complex, than, say, a sentence in Japanese. If you look at the other Romance languages however, you will find that their sentence structure is very much like that of ours; just a few centuries behind. My theory is that the Romance languages will evolve in very similar ways, with English in the lead, as it is now. My point in short: spelling is not the sole thing that complicates our language; but also overly complex (some would say arbitrary) sentence structure.

  60. ~Too.Beast.For.You -  November 30, 2011 - 3:28 pm

    Courtenay …

    … that was … totally …

    … EEEPPPPIIIIICCC!!!!!!!!! (BTW: WTH is Esperanto?

  61. (Unknown) ;) -  November 30, 2011 - 3:18 pm

    If I could only say it!!

  62. drew -  November 30, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    @L. Craig Schoonmaker

    English spelling and usage is organic and democratic. There is no “system” that keeps its conventions entrenched.

    A single voice can sway an entire democracy, so why don’t you lead the charge to better “Inglish” by spelling everything the way you think it should be spelled.

    Good luck with that.

  63. Nicolas -  November 30, 2011 - 3:05 pm

    “Tergiversate” is indeed a great word. It’s a wonder how different it is from Spanish “tergiversar”, which means “to give a forced or erroneous interpretation of words or events.”

  64. J. E. Moore -  November 30, 2011 - 2:54 pm

    Well… if you want a language that you don’t want to have to deal with spelling things oddly, Mr. Schoonmaker, try CHINESE, or any other language that has a system of CHARACTERS instead of words spelled out with a set number of letters.
    And thank you, Courtenay, for saying that. That made my day so much better.

  65. sherryyu -  November 30, 2011 - 2:49 pm

    kool, althought i reccomand sarcastic to be a candidate so it coud be winner in 2012!! :) :D YAY!!!!!!

  66. Rosalind -  November 30, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    This is a crazy word…….I can’t wait to use it!

  67. Zombie Spy -  November 30, 2011 - 1:49 pm

    hey i did a current event for science on this, and in the paper I voted for that word. Sweet!

  68. adrian baker -  November 30, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    the word of the year is OCCUPY.
    agree with what they are doing or not, but that IS the word of the year.


  69. Chea -  November 30, 2011 - 1:06 pm

    Oooh, thanks L. Craig Schoonmaker , I needed that laugh.

  70. Courtenay -  November 30, 2011 - 11:58 am

    I totally agree with this choice for word of the year! Hang on, wait… maybe I don’t… ;)

    And L. Craig Schoonmaker, “fanetik” spelling will never solve the difficulties of English for at least one simple reason: English has a number of dialects, with differing pronunciations. What you as (I assume) an American English speaker pronounce “fanetikali” as kan’t, I as an Australian English speaker pronounce as kahn’t – to give just one example (exammple to you, exahmple to me). Both are correct, depending on where one comes from. But whose dialect should be considered more “correct” when it comes to inventing a standardised “fanetik” spelling?

    Not to mention the fact that the very reason English has such inconsistent spelling is because it has drawn words from so many other languages. The way a word is spelled usually gives a good clue to where it came from, and what other words it is related to. Take “phonetic” itself. If it’s spelled “fanetik”, how can anyone tell it comes from the same (Greek) root as “phone” (which presumably would have to be “fone”, or maybe “foan”, to get rid of that nasty silent e) – and has no relation whatsoever to “fan”? If “sign” were spelled “sine” or “syn”, there goes its connection to “signal”, “signify”, “significant”, “signature”…

    Every language on earth has its quirks and oddities, and English is hardly the worst. French – another language with a long, rich history – is even more absurd when it comes to things not being spelled the way they are pronounced. If you have so little respect for your own linguistic heritage – or if you yourself are so “functionally illiterate” that you can’t cope any longer with a language that dares to have inconsistencies – how about you drop English and every other naturally evolved language, and take up Esperanto?

  71. TERGIVERSATE | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 30, 2011 - 11:45 am

    [...] ‘Tergiversate’ repeatedly, – Flip, Flop and Fly. — Such is the Essence of this Unreceptive Information Age: — The Truth can be the Lie. — Regurgitate the Talking Points, — Be the Newsworthy Sage. –  “Fore With All” the Malapropisms, — Wit noses outa Joints, — ‘Oppugnancy’ of the Political ‘Internecine’ Classes — No need for the Huricane Asses. — in some ‘Zugzwang’ of alternative schisms. — Never be there ‘Quietus’ to ‘refudiate’ — all the numerous whacky isms. — Hence the only solution is to repeatedly ‘Tergiversate’.  –>>L.T.Rhyme This entry was posted in DEMOCRAZY, DICTCOMHOTWORD, L.T.Rhyme and tagged BALLS BALLS BALLS, Democracy, LT, LTRhyme, the HOT WORD by admin. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  72. Alex -  November 30, 2011 - 10:55 am

    Julian, I do not believe “interrogatives” (with an -s) is technically a word, unless it existed as a noun whose meaning referred to words possessing a shared quality of pertaining to, or conveying, a question. Nevertheless, I believe it should be. Very creative discovery!

  73. L. Craig Schoonmaker -  November 30, 2011 - 10:40 am

    I cannot agree with the choice of word, which is never heard (you could find only a handful of examples from print in more than a year), and the absurd spelling offends me. It contains the word “give”, but the G is pronounced J! We’ve got to fix the spelling of English once and for all so it no longer attacks people with a “system” that is so chaotic that no one knows how to spell or read every word unless they devote their entire life to spelling, and English, an otherwise simple language, is very hard to master. Spelling causes functional illiteracy. Spelling reform (www.fanetik.org) would end it.

  74. Julian Hook -  November 30, 2011 - 9:58 am

    Another nice tidbit about this word: somewhere along the way I happened to learn that “tergiversation” is an anagram of “interrogatives,” which at 14 letters makes the longest pair of single-word anagrams I know of.

  75. Becky -  November 30, 2011 - 9:20 am

    I think that if I ever used that in an essay, my teacher would have to look it up. It would be the first time for a while!


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