WordNerds: A year of omnishambles?

Deliquescent and Omnishambles

water on leaves and flowers

When I read the novel The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes almost a year ago, I wrote down a lovely-sounding word I read in there somewhere—deliquescent. If I had the e-book, I’d be able to find the word again and explain the context—I don’t remember it now! I only know I love the sound of it.

Canadian Oxford wasn’t very helpful with its definition of this word.It tells me that deliquesce (verb) means to “become liquid” and that deliquescent (adjective) is derived from Latin words that mean “to be liquid”.

wet leaves on bench


a hectice officeTwo days ago, The Vancouver Sun reported that The Oxford University Press has chosen “omnishambles” as Britain’s Word of the Year. Defined as “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations,” the word has been omnipresent this year, referring to events as diverse as preparations for the 2012 London Olympics and various government PR disasters. “Omnishambles” was coined by the writers of the TV show The Thick of It.

Being selected as Word of the Year doesn’t guarantee that omnishambles will find its way into a future edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Its evolving usage and longevity will determine its fate. Personally, I’m rooting for its inclusion and think it has a good chance!

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