Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, January 19, 2021

Recently, the American Dialect Society looked to the skies when picking its 2006 Word of the Year. The result was the selection of “plutoed” for the honor.


To “pluto” is “to demote or devalue someone or something” much like what happened to the former planet last year when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto did not meet its definition of a planet.

“Our members believe the great emotional reaction of the public to the demotion of Pluto shows the importance of Pluto as a name,” said society president Cleveland Evans. “We may no longer believe in the Roman god Pluto, but we still have a sense of personal connection with the former planet.”

Nice cover story. But I’m confused. Shouldn’t a “word of the year” be a word that, y’know, someone actually used??

Because I’m calling this out as a bullshit selection. I never once heard anyone, anywhere, utter “plutoed” in this manner. Even when the news about the ex-planet made the rounds and gave everyone a good laugh, I don’t recall ever coming across such a usage. And this is a hardcore media junkie here — I have no doubt that I’d have come across this term among all the print, online and broadcast filler I take in every month. And I didn’t.

For that matter, the other “contenders” mentioned ring hollow as well. “Climate canary” (a fragile/endangered organism as environmental benchmark) and “murse” (men’s purse) never existed either, as far as I’m concerned. “Flog” (fake blog) and “macaca” (former Senator George Allen’s waterloo moment) have some real-world grounding, at least; but I’d hardly describe them as noteworthy.

All in all, a pretty weak attempt by the ADS to manufacture buzz.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/19/2007 10:01:51 PM
Category: Science, Wordsmithing
Permalink |

Trackback this entry: Right-click and copy link
22 Feedbacks »
  1. […] Population Statistic has a good question: Did anyone use the word “plutoed” before the American Dialectic Society declared it their “Word of the Year”? […]

    Pingback by Friday Night Drunkblogging: Have You Plutoed a Firecrotch Today? - from The Zero Boss by Jay Andrew Allen — 01/20/2007 @ 12:00:55 AM

  2. Right on, Cos. Never - NEVER - have I heard the word “plutoed” — except in this reference. Similarly - last years’ “truthiness” was never heard by me except when uttered by Colbert.


    Comment by david — 01/20/2007 @ 08:28:27 AM

  3. Even though I thought “truthiness” is not much of a much when it was originally coined by Colbert, I didn’t have a problem with it being the Word of the Year. Doesn’t matter how or why it originated — in this case, basically as a comedy script — the point is, it was actually out there and known, in the media and the public.

    That’s not the case with “plutoed” at all. I’m sure some research might yield an instance or two of it being injected into some column. But no way did it get around.

    Comment by CT — 01/20/2007 @ 11:30:35 AM

  4. Indeed, I have never heard anyone use any of these words. Big media needs to stop trying to create their own slang — words like these are creations that just kind of develop and work their way into our language, not something that someone has to think of and nobody uses.

    Comment by ripismoney — 01/21/2007 @ 01:11:30 PM


    Here I was, all set to fix what needs fixing by way of WordPress upgrade.

    And wouldn’t you know it, I went and got Dugged.

    I guess my indignation over a manufactured word being declared “Word of the Year” struck a chord. As is usually the case…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 01/21/2007 @ 01:16:04 PM

  6. I always hear “Flog” as shortening of fotolog or a photo based blog. I never heard plutoed either…

    Comment by Anonymous — 01/21/2007 @ 01:17:03 PM

  7. I’ve heard murse used before, and I’ve seen it used in a commercial (can’t recall for what, but there are two buffalo having a conversation and one of them has a purse, but he insists its a murse)

    Comment by MC — 01/21/2007 @ 01:20:24 PM

  8. yeah, murse is a word. I have a frend who’s carried one since 1999. We’ve always called it a murse, since then.

    Comment by Rob — 01/21/2007 @ 01:22:50 PM

  9. I dunno, “murse” brings to my mind “male nurse”, not “man purse”. And this is from a guy in NYC who carries around one of those dreaded things (the man bag, not the nurse).

    Also, I’m the author of this blog. It’s not obvious because of some recent WordPress breakdowns. Apologies.


    Comment by CT — 01/21/2007 @ 01:26:09 PM

  10. You might check out “protologisms” on Wikipedia or Wiktionary. You can also add yours (in a more welcoming environment-as the latter tend to frown on too much “original research” being posted) to http://allyourideas.com

    Comment by Brett — 01/21/2007 @ 01:28:09 PM

  11. You’re going to start hearing this word online. I’m telling you, kids playing Counter-Strike are going to start yelling “PLUTOED” over the mic.

    Comment by CajoleJuice — 01/21/2007 @ 02:16:10 PM

  12. take a quick glance at technorati graph on the subject http://www.technorati.com/chart/plutoed what a big pile of steaming bullshit

    Comment by Chris — 01/21/2007 @ 02:18:44 PM

  13. Here’s a better link.

    The last 180 days of blogging the word “Plutoed”… in 2006 it was just non-stop wasn’t it??? really it doesn’t ever get about 50 posts in a day last year and even then they’re all around about the time of the announcement so I’m guessing we can dismiss a lot of them as speeling mistakes!

    Comment by Chris — 01/21/2007 @ 02:29:55 PM

  14. I had the same reaction… I’d never heard the word before…

    Has anyone done a lexis-nexis search? That would be pretty definitive.

    By the way, this form asks for my URI, which because I run a large cat shelter I know to mean “Upper Respiratory Infection”. I think you mean URL…

    Comment by Richard — 01/21/2007 @ 02:31:11 PM

  15. kfeding would be my choice. “hey joe doesnt have a job what is he going to do?” “its cool hes kfeding off of his girl friend”

    Comment by paul — 01/21/2007 @ 02:32:54 PM

  16. Richard: URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier, which is a high-falutin’ way of saying Uniform Resource Location, or URL. It’s not my choice, it’s a semantic quirk among WordPress developers, and it’s not worth my time to “correct” it throughout my blog. You’ll find it all over the Web on other WP-powered sites, too.

    Comment by CT — 01/21/2007 @ 02:48:47 PM

  17. I have in fact heard of “murse”, I make fun of people with it, as do others

    Comment by Andrew — 01/21/2007 @ 02:53:27 PM

  18. Im gonna agree, ‘murse’ describes a male nurse a lot better then a male purse. however i do work at a hospital, so…

    Comment by billy — 01/21/2007 @ 03:56:02 PM

  19. I used to carry a murse when I lived in Japan. I insisted people call it a purse because that’s what it is. It’s gay, I know but I got stuff yo.

    Comment by rockasoo — 01/21/2007 @ 04:38:06 PM

  20. I really do not know what the big deal is about Pluoted. So They made some words up. So What? What about rap? They have made up Foshizzle my hizzle and pimp or change a garden tool to what you now call a hussy, horror, prosuite. Or even in our langauge today, it was not always like this read some shakespeare. you gets tis and thou. Along with words meaning different things in Othello housewife meant a hussy or prositute while in modern times it means a wife who stays at home.

    So my opinion who gives a rats ass. Let them make up their words. Degrade our langauge. Maybe it is not degrading but evolving our langauge.

    Comment by 1337ERROR — 01/21/2007 @ 09:14:19 PM

  21. Murse is a VERY common term for male nurse, used between my friends (my friend is a ‘murse’) and on all the popular medical TV shows.

    Comment by Wes — 01/21/2007 @ 11:13:52 PM

  22. […] dissect the entrants on this list on merit, or lack thereof (although I’m tempted, based on the surprising reaction I got when I dissed the fraud selection of “plutoed” as a WOTY). But I’m going to cherry-pick ones that found their way onto this […]

    Pingback by MY 2007 WORDS-OF-THE-YEAR USAGE Population Statistic — 12/23/2007 @ 02:18:32 PM

RSS feed for feedback on this post.

Leave a comment

PLEASE NOTE: Various types of comment moderation may be triggered once you hit the "Say It!" button below. Common causes for this are the inclusion of several hyperlinks and/or spam words in the comment field. Please do not hit the "Say It!" button more than once. If you feel your comment is being blocked without cause, feel free to email me about it.