W00t!


WoTY 2007

When was the first time a well-known word or phrase was used in print?
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WoTY W00t! I like the sound of it!

W00t! as you’ve doubtless heard, is the Merriam Webster Word of the Year…WoTY, for short.

And if you’re not in the loop on W00t!, it’s l337-speak for “yay!”, “yipee!”, “in your face!” and exclamations to that effect. And please note, it’s w00t! — with zeros — not woot! with oh’s.

I’m not even going to try to ferret out the FirstMention of w00t! Its origins are lost in the annals of geek-dom, and better men than me have tried to recreate the history and origins of w00t!, only to admit defeat.

But I can at least document the Rise and Fall and Rise Again of the word of the year.

Believe it or not, I made a graph.

Since w00t! had its heyday in the BBS bulletin boards, chat rooms, and the Usenet groups of yore, I pulled the data out of a search of Google Groups.

You can see its rather meek appearance in 1994 (though there are undoubtedly earlier uses to be found), and a slow, steady rise through the late nineties. Then in 2000….ka-zing!

W00t! is through the r00f!

Was this something to do with all the millennium celebrations? Y2K?

Fact is, I just don’t know. I scrolled through a lot of postings, looking for a clue, but nothing really explains the massive burst of w00tness in 2000, nor the substantial falling off in subsequent years.

Whatever the reasons, w00t! is on the rise again, almost returning to the glory days of 2000,

And no doubt, with its annointing as the 2007 WoTY, 2008 is going to be a banner year for w00t!

Stay tuned.

Know of an earlier FirstMention? Drop us a line at david@firstmention.com

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When was the first time a well-known word or phrase was used in print?
FirstMention.com explores the history and origins of famous people and places, and of popular phrases, companies,
brand names, products and ideas, along with familiar words and sayings.