A panel of editors, lexicographers and others at Dictionary.com have chosen the Word of the Year for 2011. The word is…
Pronounced “ter-JIV-er-sate”, it means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.”
So we could say that, in 2011, the stock market tergiversated; or that the public tergiversated about Occupy Wall Street.
“We’re taking a stand on this choice,” Jay Schwartz, Dictionary.com’s Head of Content told The Huffington Post. “We think that it’s immensely rewarding to find existing words that capture a precise experience, and this year, tumult has been the norm rather than the exception. There are contested public spaces around the world, where people are demonstrating in one direction or another. Opinions and circumstances have been oscillating so much.
“This word encompasses an sense of ‘flip flopping’ but it also implies a number of other complicating forces. Unlike ‘flip flop’, ‘tergiversate’ suggests a lack of intentionality – it’s a change in state more out of necessity, as new events happen at great speed, whether in the economy, politics or attitudes.”
The word’s origins come from the Latin for “to turn one’s back”. Though not in common usage, it was utilized by The Times of London in August to describe the changing attitudes of stock markets.
According to Schwartz, the team considered other words, including “occupy”, “austerity”, “jobs” (both the noun and the person), “zugzwang” and “insidious“.
However, though they may have tergiversated during their discussions, there will be no more tergiversation on the matter. It’s Dictionary.com’s Word of The Year 2011.