One of our favourite words happens to be ‘stupid’. Which in turn allows us to make sense of the news that the word ‘w00t’ has been judged by the visitors to the Merriam-Webster dictionary website to be the “word of the year”. Yay! Or as a generation raised on gaming consoles energy drinks would say, “W00t!’ This strange concoction of two letters of the English alphabet and a double zero separating them is pronounced (unimaginatively) the same way as the non-existing word ‘woot’ (a boxer saying ‘root’ after getting his teeth knocked out).
Such silly, geeky expressions have no fixed lineage, as a large part of the fun that silly geeks — as well as theologians and post-Structuralists — can ever have revolves around finding multiple meanings and sources to things. But the most probable origin to ‘w00t’ is the acronym of the online gaming jargon, ‘We own the other team’ — the zeros instead of the ‘o’ making everything look cooler. The other popular explanation that it comes from the war cry, "Wow, loot!", of the 80s nerd’s favourite boardgame, Dungeons and Dragons, makes equal non-sense.
Just how online communities differ in verbal choices from their offline counterparts can be determined by the fact that the word ‘facebook’ as a verb — "Dear Aunt Agony.com, is it okay if I facebook my girlfriend’s mother?” — follows ‘w00t’ in the Merriam-Webster sweepstakes. Why can’t geeks in front of monitors speak the language the way it’s supposed to be spoken, we don’t know. Jeeesh!