Not surprisingly, the Japanese version is not so much a "word", but a character, ie kanji, of the year. (Actually, I was aware of the Japanese Kanji of the Year first since they show the drawing of it in a ceremony on National TV. ;> )
So, without further delay, the American word of the year is....
Truthiness1 : "truth that comes from the gut, not books" (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," October 2005)
2 : "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true" (American Dialect Society, January 2006)
excerpt from the article:
As expected, there were a few surprises in store for us as we pored through your submissions for our first Word of the Year online survey. Either the vast majority of you out there in the Merriam-Webster online community are big fans of The Colbert Report, or Time Magazine was right on target when it honored the show's host Stephen Colbert earlier this year as one of the most influential people of 2006. By an overwhelming 5 to 1 majority vote, our visitors have awarded top honors to a word Colbert first introduced on "The Word" segment of his debut broadcast on Comedy Central back in October 2005.
Read full article here.
See the original broadcast featuring the first use of truthiness here.
Other words rounding out the Words of the Year 2006:
Looks pretty dark and cynical compared to Japanese Kanji of the Year:
translation from the article:
The Organization for the Japanese Kanji Proficieny Test (head office: Kyoto)
announced on the 12th, the country wide publicly selected "Year's Kanji" at Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. From 92,509 entries, the top was "inochi" (life). Since November, 9.04% (8363 votes) of the entries received through the Internet and postcards were for "inochi". The reason given was from the ongoing children suicides resulting from bullying, the birth of the rule son-Hisahito, and accidents caused by DUI. In second place was "falling-away" (3793 votes), third place was "birth" (3303 votes). Last year was "love"; and the year before that was "disaster".
日本漢字能力検定協会（本部・京都市下京区）が全国公募した「今年の漢字」が１２日、京都市東山区の清水寺で発表された。９万２５０９人の応募の中 でトップだったのは「命」。１１月からインターネットやはがきで受け付けた応募の９．０４％にあたる８３６３票が「命」だった。相次いだ子どものいじめによる自殺や秋篠宮ご夫妻の長男・悠仁（ひさひと）さまの誕生、飲酒運転による事故などが理由にあげられていた。 ２位は「悠」（３７９３票）、３位は「生」（３３０３票）だった。昨年は「愛」、一昨年は「災」だった。
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