SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Expect cheers among hardcore online game enthusiasts when they learn Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year. Or, more accurately, expect them to “w00t.”
“W00t,” a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness or triumph, topped the dictionary publisher’s online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.
Merriam-Webster’s president, John Morse, said “w00t” was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology.
Gamers commonly substitute numbers and symbols for the letters they resemble, Morse says, creating what they call “l33t speak” – that’s “leet” when spoken, short for “elite” to the rest of the world.
Some also-rans in 2007: the use of “facebook” as a verb to signify using the Web site by that name, and “blamestorm,” a meeting in which fingers are pointed.