Congratulations, Sarah Palin: “Refudiate” Named Word of the Year

By Jared

Nov 15, 2010 2:59pm

ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports:

Sarah Palin has officially changed the modern lexicon, one tweet at a time. While one might expect the New Oxford American Dictionary to refudiate the former Alaska governor’s favorite verb, today they embraced it, announcing “refudiate” as the official 2010 word of the year.

"From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used 'refudiate,' we have concluded that neither 'refute' nor 'repudiate' seems consistently precise, and that 'refudiate' more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of 'reject.' "the New Oxford American Dictionary said in a press release.

Palin’s use of “refudiate,” launched critics into a frenzy when she first posted the made up verb on her Twitter page over the summer.

“Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” the 2008 vice presidential nominee tweeted in July, launching a string of harsh responses from the media. While some called Palin’s linguistic mash up egregious others said she would never hear the end of it (look who’s laughing now).

Palin later joked at her own expense, "'refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!"

It’s been a big week for Sarah Palin. The debut of her new reality show Sunday night was the number one program launch in TLC’s history and now she’s officially made her mark on the American vocabulary.

While Palin may have made “refudiate” famous, she is by no means the first person to coin the term. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary the Fort Worth Gazette was the first to publish the word in 1891. Nor is Palin the first politician to combine refute and repudiate; in 2006 Senator Mike DeWine asked “Fox and Friends” viewers to “refudiate” comments made by Senator John Kerry.

Refudiate beat out other tough competitors for the top spot in 2010, including “gleek,” “vuvuzela,” “retweet,” and “tea party.”

Whether you love it or hate it, you can longer refudiate the validity of “refudiate” and remember, never misunderestimate Sarah Palin.

–Mary Bruce

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