Nominated for Word of the Decade

January 22, 2020

What does it take to become a word of the decade (and sometimes beyond)?

Think of some of the words that came into our vernacular as part of a social movement. “Cool” has been incredibly durable, perhaps the all-time champion of such words. The modern colloquial use of the word “cool” bubbled up in the 1940’s in the jazz world to counter the hot jazz of the era. Then again, in the 1950s, as part of the existential beatnik culture. It’s still with us. Cool began as a word to imply relaxed, in a non-anxious state, and has morphed into meaning "anything good". That’s cool.

On the heels of cool came “hot”. In the early 1980s, hot was the thing. Fashion, music, the guy or girl across the room...all hot. The colloquial intent of “hot” was to imply an elevated state of eye appeal. It began as a look, then just as it’s cousin “cool”, morphed into simply meaning "good".

In the 1980’s, right around the time that boomers handed the culture torch to Gen X’ers, "awesome" was born. There is a debate about the origins of awesome. It may have bubbled up from the surfer culture or the gaming culture. Popularized in the movie “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”, it stuck like glue. Everything good became awesome. And still is.

Other superlatives have come and gone, but none with incredible staying power. Emojis stole the show in the 2000s.  We are primed for a word renaissance.

The ground rules for establishing these words are simple. The word should fit comfortably into conversation, one syllable is best (but two will do), it must reek of positivity and it should sound trendy.

I submit to you the next candidate for word of the decade. “Fancy”.

Why "Fancy"?  It’s a word for these times. Fancy connotes luxury. Stylish without being needlessly opulent. It’s an aspirational word. Fancy relates to presentation of both the most basic necessities and everything else. Food. Clothing. Shelter. The dreaded PowerPoint. That shiny new Lexus. “Fancy” has endless potential.

If you’ve read this far, you are on the honorary Fancy Committee. You are part of the driving force for a movement. Start weaving “fancy” into conversations. See how it fits. If you have some useful feedback about Fancy becoming the word of the decade, please E-mail me at  Let’s get this going. Have a Fancy 2020!