Signs of the Times: Merriam-Webster’s Top 10 Words Submitted by Users

By Mark Skoultchi

July 7, 2010

What do retrosexuals, flotels, and bonus parents have in common? Answer: they’re all in Merriam-Webster’s latest list of Top 10 new words submitted by users. For those who haven’t heard the term before, a bonus parent is a stepparent. (Sounds so much nicer than stepparent, don’t you think? “Step” anything has a not-quite-the-real-deal feeling to it.) And flotel is coined from the words “float” and “hotel,” to describe a floating hotel. (Something that’s become a part of life in the gulf for BP these days.) As for retrosexual . . . according to Webster, a retrosexual is either a man “who self-consciously adopts traditional masculine styles” of manners and dress (as in the Mad Men craze) OR a man who dispenses with such wussy niceties as appearance altogether to embrace good old-fashioned manly manliness. (Whatever that’s supposed to mean. As described in one retrosexual manifesto of manliness, beer, guns—and sports involving large groups of males moving a ball around a playing field—figure prominently.)

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