manspreading

Joe Dator’s January 9th New Yorker daily cartoon:

(#1)

Extreme manspreading on the New York subway.

The MTA launched a campaign a while back to curb the practice:

(#2)

Meanwhile, the Word of the Year (2014) news from the American Dialect Society meeting in Portland OR, in the NYT yesterday:

#Blacklivesmatter, which became a social media rallying cry following the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, grabbed 196 votes, far outpacing rivals like bae (a sweatheart or romantic partner, 3 votes), columbusing (cultural appropriation, especially the act of a white person discovering supposedly unknown aspects of minority culture, 11 votes), and manspreading (sitting with one’s legs spread widely on public transit, 5 votes).

The WOTY selections — there are a number of categories — are made by the votes of those who turn up at the ADS session. The voting is generally light-hearted, but sometimes has a serious purpose, as in this case. Manspreading is a cute coinage, but how could it compete with #Blacklivesmatter? The votes are rarely this one-sided.

(Oh yes, #Blacklivesmatter is the first hashtag to be selected as WOTY. And “word” for ADS purposes covers phrases as well as words proper.)

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