Inspired by the out-of-nowhere rise of New York Knick’s starting point guard Jeremy Lin, “Linsanity” is a term describing excitement about the athlete and his play. You have to be living under a rock not to have heard it by now. The word is appearing everywhere as sportswriters, late night comedians, and ice cream companies get taken up in the craze.
And it looks like this “Linsanity” can’t be stopped. According to Mason Levinson’s February 16 Bloomberg.com article, the word is shaping up to be an early contender for the American Dialect Society’s 2012 Word of the Year.
Quoting Ben Zimmer, chairman of the society’s New Words Committee, Levinson writes, “Everybody seems to be getting onboard. It’s hard to not catch that infectious excitement about it.”
Now we loves us some Jeremy Lin around here, but this Word of the Year thing is what really catches our attention. It turns out that the 122-year-old American Dialect Society has been voting on Words of the Year since 1990. For a word to be considered for the honor, it must be:
- demonstrably new or newly popular in the year in question
- widely and/or prominently used in the year in question
- indicative or reflective of the popular discourse
- not a peeve or a complaint about overuse or misuse
Of course, it should be noted that in its 22-year history, zero benefits-related words have ever even been in the running for Word of the Year or any Word of the Year subcategories.
I know, right?
There’s hardly a mention of HDHPs, flex-spending, or even cafeteria plans. I mean, how health savings account (HSA) didn’t sweep after its debut in 2004 is an outrage. HSAs, of all things! Come on! Surely the fix is in.
Or maybe—we’re talking big-time outside chance here—maybe benefits-related terminology just doesn’t capture the imagination of the average American.
But what about you, Mr. or Ms. Benefits Communicator? If we were to vote on the benefits word of the year for 2011, what do you think it should be? Go ahead an leave your vote in the comments section below.