The votes are in, and the American Dialect Society has designated “because” the Word of the Year for 2013.
That’s because in Web speak, “because” is not the unifying clause that grammar students are used to but rather a simple, rushed prepositional phrase, such as “because Facebook,” “because 140 characters” and “because tween texting.”
Ben Zimmer, a MOT, lexicographer and the chairman of the dialect society’s new words committee, said in a statement reported in The New York Times that “because” had evolved thanks to casual online speak, shaking off its subordinating conjunction role and emerging as a slimmer, sleeker version of offering rationales.
“No longer does ‘because’ have to be followed by of or a full clause,” wrote Zimmer, the son of a former New Jersey congressman. “Now one often sees tersely worded rationales like ‘because science’ or ‘because reasons.’ You might not go to a party ‘because tired.’ As one supporter put it, ‘because’ should be word of the year ‘because useful!’”
“Because” beat out other 2013 faves (or love-to-hates) such as “selfie,” “hashtag” and “sharknado.” Another close call for the Word of the Year crown was “twerking,” which lost out, most likely, because Miley.