Word of the Year 2009: “Unfriend”

The influence of social networking is getting widespread.

dictionary-unfriend-word-of-the-yearThe New Oxford American Dictionary (OAD) has announced that its Word of the Year for 2009 is “unfriend”. This is defined as the act of removing a friend from a list of friends in a social network site, notably Facebook.

The example usage that was given in the dictionary is “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.”

“Unfriend” defeated other words such as “netbook”, “birther”, “sexting”, “paywall”, “death panel”, ‘hashtag”, “freemium” and “tramp stamp”.

However, Facebook fans immediately had a debate over the word. Some prefer the word “defriend” and some prefer “unfriend”.

Removing a friend in a friend’s list, however, can be an awkward situation, especially if the removed friend noticed it. Then you two meet in person. It isn’t the only way to “remove” friends from your social network sites. Facebook allows users to “hide” messages from some people. One can also adjust one’s privacy settings so that one’s own posts will not show up to those people whom you don’t want to share posts with.