“w00t” crowned word of year

BOSTON (Reuters) – “w00t,” an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary. Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster Inc. said “w00t” — typically spelled with two zeros — reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and cell phone text-messaging. It’s like saying “yay,” the dictionary said. “It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all,” Merriam-Webster said. Visitors to Merriam-Webster’s Web site were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers. … One Web site, www.thinkgeek.com, already sells T-shirts with the word “w00t” printed on the front. “w00t belongs to gamers the world over. It seems to have been derived from the obsolete ‘whoot’ which essentially is another way to say ‘hoot’ which itself is a shout or derisive laugh,” Think Geek said on its Web site. “But others maintain that w00t is the sound several players make while jumping like bunnies in Quake III,” it added, referring to a popular video game. Online gamers often replace numbers and symbols with letters to form what Merriam-Webster calls an “esoteric computer hacker language” known as “l33t speak.” This translates into “leet,” which is short for “elite.” [full story] (dead link removed)

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