Each year, the famous German dictionary publisher, Langenscheidt, crowns “the Youth Word of the Year” from amongst hundreds of linguistic innovations making up German youth-speak. For the year 2015, several German names have already made their way onto the top ten list of potential winners. For example, according to Langenscheidt, the surname of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been used to generate the new German verb “to merkel” which is German youth slang for “to do nothing or refusing to make a clear decision.”
This sardonic nameplay is not the first time that controversial political policies have inspired German teens. Last year, after reports began to surface that the CIA and NSA had spied on several of European leaders, not one but two new verbs were derived from the surnames of US Americans caught up in the scandal. The first was President Obama, whose last name was used to form the new predicate “to obama,” a new synonym for the verb “to spy” or “abhören.” The second surname which was used to create a new word was Snowden. In that same year, German teens borrowed this last name to generate the predicate “entsnowden” meaning “to bring to light” or “to uncover.”
Click here to cast your vote for name of the year for the United States.