Oxford Word of the Year 2009: Unfriend

#Culture

Thu, Nov 19th, 2009 13:10 by capnasty NEWS

To unfriend, a verb meaning to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook, has been officially christened as the 2009 Word of the Year by Oxford University Press.

unfriend ? verb ? To remove someone as a ?friend? on a social networking site such as Facebook.

As in, ?I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.?

?It has both currency and potential longevity,? notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford?s US dictionary program. ?In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most ?un-? prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar ?un-? verbs (uncap, unpack), but ?unfriend? is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of ?friend? that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.?

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