Hard News by Russell Brown


We are all twatcocks now (updated with prizes!)

The Public Address Word of the Year 2010 is "twatcock", which handily beat "vuvuzela", "liquefaction", and "wikileaks" in a reader vote.

Public Address founder Russell Brown says the result demonstrated the Public Address reader community's enduring fondness for neologisms. Like 2007 winner "Te Qaeda" and 2008 finalist "rofflenui", "twatcock" is a portmanteau word.

Brown says the word, coined by Wellington Public Address reader Tom Beard in the course of a discussion about former Breakfast host Paul Henry, was adopted by other readers two months before the Word of the Year voting was opened.

"Sometimes only a crude sexual insult will do the job, but our reader community determined the need for such an insult that carried no undue weight or implication of gender," says Brown.

"For obvious reasons, this isn't necessarily an easy thing to achieve. It has eluded well-meaning but foul-mouthed PC liberals for decades. But in conjoining the two time-honoured genitally-based insults, 'twat' and 'cock', Tom Beard has hewn something new and compelling from the original raw elements."

Beard has happily accepted the accolade -- and the excellent bottle of whisky that goes with it.

"It all started on Public Address System, when a commenter referred to a certain objectionable person as a 'cock' because they wanted to avoid the implied sexism of 'twat'," says Beard. "I simply suggested that in the interests of balance we should make up the word 'twatcock'. Since then, that ambipudendral insult has taken on a life of its own, which is perhaps not surprising given the amount of twatcockery that has pervaded 2010."

Brown also noted the first appearance on the annual list of a Twitter hashtag -- #eqnz, the unofficial but virtually universal tag for tweets about this year's Canterbury earthquake.

The list is based on weighted votes cast online by 559 readers of Public Address blogs. The Top 10 words, with points in brackets, are:


1. Twatcock (504)

2. Vuvuzela (388)

3. Liquefaction (311)

4. Wikileaks (309)

5. Eyjafjallajökull (280)

6. Refudiate (221)

7. Aftershock (120)

8. Super Mayor

9. #eqnz (115)

10. Vajazzling (107)


And now to announce the winners of a bottle each of the Adelphi Private Stock from Whisky Galore!

Well, Tom Beard gets one, that's a given.

And by tradition, the first person to propose the winning word is a winner, so that's Megan Wegan.

Also: "chris" from Beijing proposed no fewer than three words that made the final list, and that seems worth acknowledging.

Then there are two picked from the list of voters with the assistance of a random number generator: Chris Vella and Robin Hickman.

And finally, I couldn't do this without Hadyn Green's help, so the final bottle goes his way.

Tom, Megan, Hadyn -- it'll save our kind sponsor some money if you three could nominate a joint delivery address for the courier.

Others: contact me with address details asap to make sure of getting this all out by Christmas. And thanks for playing!

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