"Because" Crowned Word of the Year

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January 13, 2014

Because Race Car
Image courtesy of CombatBlog.net.

Three of the new words that made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013 are twerk, selfie and bitcoin. (None of which Microsoft Word yet recognize by the way as they were all underlined in red.) But it was a fourth word that the American Dialect Society chose as its Word of the Year for 2013: because.

Those of you not up on the pop/internet meme culture are probably very confused right now so let me give you a quick history lesson. The roots of the online "because" phenomenon go back to the 2001 "because fuck you" meme. Since then it has grown and, says Ben Zimmer, chairman of the Dialect Society's New Words Committee, "No longer does 'because' have to be followed by 'of' or a full clause."

I know a few people in my office who will hate this and cringe at the acceptance of what linguists are calling the "prepositional because." But I have to say that I think it's great!

You might not go to a party because tired. Or you might really want to go to the party because fun. Or maybe you aren't allowed to go to the party because grounded. Or maybe you go to the party but can't drive home because drunk.

And then there is the most popular use of the new "because" noun: because science. (Now you get the joke when you see all those geeky hipsters in your neighborhood wearing those "because science" T-shirts.)

For our video this week check out this clip from one of the many ridiculous TLC shows. This one is called "Sex Sent Me to the ER" and in this case the reason is because orgasm.

And here are some websites you might want to check out because porn: OnlyAllSites, SwankPass and HandsOnHardcore.

Posted by A.K. Anderson at January 13, 2014 1:01 AM

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