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News lexicography of 2012

All due credit to petroleum and technology, social media and memes, and the humbling power of the weather, for their ability to generate and sustain new words.

world Updated: Dec 28, 2012 02:26 IST

All due credit to petroleum and technology, social media and memes, and the humbling power of the weather, for their ability to generate and sustain new words:

Gangnam Style — The manner and attitude ascribed to the affluent Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea. This term came to the attention of the world when the Korean pop star PSY released the song and video "Gangnam Style." His signature "galloping pony ride" dance was the macarena of 2012.

47 percent — The percentage of people who do not pay taxes, are dependent on government assistance and would vote to re-elect President Barack Obama no matter what, according to Mitt Romney, the failed Republican presidential candidate. His comments were captured on a video taken surreptitiously at a fundraising dinner for big campaign donors.

Binders full of women — In explaining during a debate that he often sought to hire women while he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney said he was given "whole binders full of women" to consider as candidates for government jobs. The comment was widely ridiculed, since it made it seem as though he knew so few qualified women that others had to find them for him.

Doga — Yoga with a dog.

Dox — To find and release all available information about a person or organization, usually for the purpose of exposing their identities or secrets. "Dox" is a longstanding shortening of "documents" or "to document," especially in technology industries. In 2012, the high-profile Reddit user Violentacrez was doxed by Adrian Chen at Gawker to expose questionable behavior.

Eastwooding — Talking to an empty chair as if Obama were sitting in it, as Clint Eastwood did at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Fiscal cliff — The tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect Jan. 1 if Congress does not pass legislation to block them. One worry is that a plunge would stall or reverse the nation's climb out of the recession.

Love Pentagon — The tangle of relationships among Gen. David Petraeus; Paula Broadwell, with whom he had an affair; Gen. John Allen; and several others. A play on "love triangle."

Legitimate rape — A confirmed rape. In August, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, the Republican Senate candidate, was asked whether he believed abortion was justified in cases of rape and replied that rape rarely resulted in pregnancy. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down," he said. His comment drew widespread ridicule. Akin apologized for his remarks but lost.

Nomophobia — Fear of losing or forgetting one's mobile phone, or of being outside of the phone's signal area. From no more (phone | phobia).

Obamaloney — The Romney campaign's name for what it called distortions and misrepresentations of Romney's policies and accomplishments by the Obama campaign.

Pet shaming, cat shaming or dog shaming — Posting a picture of one's pet to a social media site with a sign in the picture that details some mischief or wrongdoing by the animal.

Unwindulaxin — Unwinding, chilling out, relaxing. Used on an episode of the TV sitcom “30 Rock.”

Frankenstorm — The storm that hit the East Coast in October, a few days before Halloween.