Frank van Pamelen

Word of the Year

Column 1 min. Frank van Pamelen

1 votes.


'One-and-a-half-metre-society' was voted as the Dutch word of the Year 2020. A word, I think, that did cover the load. At least more so than 'swaffelen' in 2008. I hope that by the end of December we will embrace a word that not only has fifteen letters but a word that is real and positive, oldschool-like, wacko-like and ‘common sensitive’.

'One-and-a-half-metre-society' was voted as the Dutch word of the Year 2020. A word, I think, that did cover the load. At least more so than 'swaffelen' in 2008. ‘To swaffle’ did cover, but not the load. 'One-and-a-half-metre-society' immediately was the longest Word of the Year ever. Twenty-six letters, almost one-and-a-half Scrabble board. In 2015 ‘Sjoemelsoftware' (cheating-software) counted fifteen letters, just long enough on a Scrabble board, but content wise it’s too negative, I think. This happens more often: 'treitervlogger’ (bullying vlogger, 2016), 'appongeluk’ (app accident, 2017) and 'blokkeerfries’ (blocking Fries, 2018), those words also have an acidic character. And the election of 'boomer' (2019) was a mistake anyway.

It's still a bit early, but I think for 2021 we should aim for a Word of the Year that can be validated during a game of Scrabble or Wordfeud, preferably with maximum word and letter value. A word also that immediately characterizes in the most positive way what has been going on in society. 'Vaccinatieangst’ (‘vaccination anxiety’) fits perfect, but will soon be outdated, I hope. ‘Hernormalisatie’ ('re-normalization') also has good length, but sounds a bit too utopian. By the way, these letters score way too low.

‘Hydroxychloride’ has the same length and scores many more points, but since Trump has been voted out, this word is not going to make it. Besides, it officially ends in -chloroquine, so I was frankly faking it a bit to get it right.

I hope that by the end of December we will embrace a word that not only has fifteen letters, including a q and an x because of the score, but a word that is real and positive, oldschool-like, wacko-like and ‘common sensitive’. Maybe you can start thinking about it already. That should work at a university. Lots of brains there. Together you deliver sufficient ‘IQ-maximalization’. Hum...