‘Unfriend’ Dutch word of the year


In November, we told you that Twitteren (‘to Twitter’) was chosen as the Dutch Word of the Year by the Onze Taal (’Our Language’) congress in Utrecht.

Well, now that the year is almost over, Onze Taal together with newspaper De Pers and Van Dale (they make the Dutch dictionary) have chosen ‘ontvrienden’ (‘to unfriend’) as the Word of the Year 2009. The New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2009 is also ‘unfriend’, which like in Dutch means “to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site”. When they explain it they use Facebook as an example of a social networking site and in Dutch they keep it local and say Hyves.

Whether you prefer ‘Twitteren’ or ‘ontvrienden’, they both go to show how much of an impact social media has had on language, never mind IT as a general rule over the last 20 years. Like the Oxford people say, ‘unfriend’ definitely has ‘lex-appeal’.

(Link: nieuws)


  1. Isn’t the English word “defriend” unstead of “unfriend”?

  2. Orangemaster says:

    Yes and no. ‘Defriend’ should be the proper English word, but again thanks to social media where ‘friends’ aren’t real friends like in real life, ‘unfriend’ is then then the neologism.

  3. chris says:

    Then there’s the impact of unfriendliness (keeping it local).

  4. […] ‘Unfriend’ Dutch word of 2009 (says Onze Taal) […]

  5. […] a local word from the name of a birthday party event on Facebook turned into a riot and in 2009 unfriend (ontvrienden), getting rid of so-called ‘friends’ on Facebook, Twitter and other apps was the […]

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