Word of the Year 2008: Overshare

Your votes are in and the editors at Webster’s New World Dictionary have spoken: 2008’s Word of the Year is overshare!

What is “overshare”?

overshare (verb): to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions ranging from alarmed discomfort to approval.

Watch Editor-in-Chief Mike Agnes explain why Webster’s New World Dictionary selected overshare as 2008’s Word of the Year, plus real life examples of oversharing (and its consequences) from passersby in Washington Square Park, NYC:

Use In Context

Overshare has increasingly been used to reference those who divulge excessive personal information, online as well as offline – Gawker even published a field guide to compulsive oversharers in April 2008. A few other examples of overshare, used in context, can be found here.

Why was overshare chosen as Word of the Year?

Mike Agnes explains why the editors at Webster’s New World Dictionary chose overshare as 2008’s Word of the Year:

“First of all, we’re always interested in words that serve as both noun and verb because we’re linguists. Second of all, this is a word that reflects current trends in public communications and personal sharing of information.

It’s also a word that is rather slip-slippery, chameleon-like. Some people use it disparagingly; they don’t like oversharing. Others think oversharing is good and that one must give full disclosure of one’s inner life. Sometimes there is a generational shift in the way people look at this practice and therefore view the word. We found that very interesting.

Now is overshare in the dictionary? No. Typically words chosen as Word of the Year are parts of emerging English. They’re not yet in. They don’t have a track record of usage. They don’t have a breadth of usage yet that qualifies them for entry in the dictionary. But they are words that we’re watching with our language monitoring program. So this is what the editors of Webster’s New World Dictionary have chosen for 2008’s Word of the Year: overshare.”

2 Responses to “Word of the Year 2008: Overshare”

  1. […] får denna utmärkelse. Redan 2004 blev ”blog” utsett till årets ord av Merriam-Webster och The Webster’s New World Dictionary utsåg förra året ”overshare” till årets ord, vilket kan beskriva att man publicerar för mycket personlig information på webben. På […]

  2. […] favorite part of the blog post announcing the winner (see a trend here?) is the definition they give to “overshare”: […]

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