I love a good word of the year as much as the next person, but tergiversate? That was the word chosen by Dictionary.com for 2011. Tergiversate, meaning “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.”
And while yes, I agree, this word aptly describes 2011, I'm still of the mindset that I'd like the word of the year to be a word that's in use. Yes, tergiversate was used on August 20th, 2011 in The Times of London when Oliver Kamm said, “The tergiversations of stock markets are often puzzling from the outside. They’re no less puzzling from within.” But that's not enough for me. Especially for a year when words like "jobs" and "occupy" were on everyone's lips constantly. I want to hear the word of the year and be able to say, "Yes! I used that word all the time this year." I can't say I've ever used the word tergiversate.
This year's runner-up was insidious. Originally from the Latin word “insidere” which meant “to sit on, occupy,” and that now means “proceeding in a seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect.” And with the movie that came out this year with the same name, I would even have preferred this over tergiversate. Yet, it was decided that, "Ultimately, though, insidious is too negative to represent the mood of change and transformation that has marked this year as well."
At the end of the day, I can't be too upset. I love that we have a word of the year. I love that we care that much about words. And maybe this word will expand our personal dictionaries, who knows, maybe I'll even find myself saying it next week.
To read more about why tergiversate was chosen, you can check out Dictionary.com's blog here.