‘Because’ is 2013’s word of the year
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Because Zimmer said soBecause Zimmer said so

‘Because’ is 2013’s word of the year

The Internet version of everyone's favorite unifying clause is quicker, faster, and more Twitter-friendly

Debra writes for the JTA, and is a former features writer for The Times of Israel.

In the Web world, definitions are fluid. (photo credit: dictionary page.)
In the Web world, definitions are fluid. (photo credit: dictionary page.)

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!’”

Ben Zimmer (photo credit: Youtube screenshot)
Ben Zimmer (photo credit: Youtube screenshot)

“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.

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