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w00t, There It Is

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So Merriam-Webster's word of the year is w00t. Sort of uninspiring, right? As in, aren't there thousands of other words that communicate so much more, mean so much more than the gamer battle-cry for "yes! i just killed your guy and i still have seven lives left!"?!?!?

Surely there are more important things that happened in the word world than this, we kept thinking. Surely there were actual words that should have won. "Facebook" was the runner-up at Webster's, while another study tracking this year's word usage pointed to "surge" (as in troop-surge), "hybrid", "climate change" and "Bluetooth" as top contenders.

This whole w00t thing seemed silly to us. But then we remembered the comments here on LAist, where w00t appears almost daily. And the many LAist emails and IM's in which it appears frequently. It takes many forms - from the standard w00t to "wooty woot!" We've even seen "w to the 00t." Really. Our favorite usage of it is verbal, and nearly always ironic.

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What does all of this usage and partial usage and ironic usage of w00t mean? That we will one day communicate in binary code? Are we, years after the film's release, doomed to live in the actual matrix...and speak accordingly? Maybe. In a world where "i can haz cheezburger" spoken by an inanimate cat is, admittedly, funny, perhaps binary is our only answer. The only way out of our horrible bludgeoning of the English language.

We are, however, crossing our fingers that next year Merriam-Webster's "word of the year" is actually a word. That doesn't contain numbers. That isn't shorthand for something else. That reflects some of the more critical social issues we face. (We prefer Oxford's "word of the year" locavore, as ridiculous as it sounds, for this very reason.) Or maybe, on the fatalistic flip, the "word" next year will be comprised entirely of numbers. Months later, all of our LAist posts will follow suit. Numbers. Just numbers. As in: 77895 38223333 3433. 593934 348 343443 879813 482 25 1 48946. The first step in the slippery slope toward a binary language. Eeek.

When, if ever, do you say w00t?

Photo via ThinkGeek. Yes, there really are t-shirts.