Saturday, May 14, 2011

In Praise of w00t!

I was checking out my news feed on Facebook, and I ran across this video from a blogger/vlogger named Mama Kat. And it sort of bothered me, enough that I thought about it for quite a bit, especially during Bloggerocalypse.

For those of you too lazy to listen to the video(or those of you at work who don't want anyone to know your surfing habits), Mama Kat has a problem with some words that have entered the collective consciousness of popular culture. Specifically, she does not like the word 'woot'.

Ignoring the misspelling of the word 'w00t', Mama Kat felt that use of the word was lame(my word). She demonstrated several social occasions in which the word 'w00t' did not fit. Most of the comments on the Facebook page reflected the agreement of many. Some even made comments about how there were actual ZEROES in the word without realizing that the zeroes reflect the correct spelling.

With all due respect to Mama Kat and her readers/viewers, I must disagree. 'w00t' is a great word. It is an exclamation of celebration, just like "Yahoo!", "Whoopee!", "Yippee!", "Woohoo!", and "Hooray!", and it deserves to be lauded, not condemned.

It is not, however, meant to be 'woot'. It is 'w00t'. It is a word associated with 'l33t' or 'leet speak', a language(orthography and morphology and syntax, oh my!) created for use primarily on the internet, on message boards/forums, and in gaming by people who are way more computer literate than me. 'w00t' has been in usage since 1994, and it was one of Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year for 2007. It is a legitimate word, unlike ROFLMAO and LMAO, which are acronyms of idioms that people are too lazy to say or type.

Totally different vegetables.

Our language, our words provide us with something that binds certain groups together and gives them a common ground upon which people can communicate. People who speak Spanish(or German, or Chinese, etc.,) share a group of words as part of a specific group. Usage of that group of words identifies them as part of that group, and confuses those who aren't part of that group unless those words are translated. Similarly, people who surf share a group of words that identify them as surfers to other surfers, a language that confuses non-surfing types unless it is translated--by a surfer. Some of those words have entered popular usage.

'w00t' falls in that same category.

That there is a word from a language created by ASCII users floating around in popular usage is simply a reflection of the greatness that is the English language. I think that is simply terrific. English, or at least the Americanized branch of English, is truly the great melting pot of the world. We find words that we want to use, and it doesn't matter if the word belongs to another language--if we want it, we take it. We make it our own. The result is a breathing, belching mix of good, bad, and ugly words that change constantly, sometimes in the course of a couple of months.

Does anyone still use the word 'hella' anymore, for example?

Think about it.

When was the last time anybody heard these words?

Or these?


Bueller?(Give yourself bonus points if you get that cultural reference!)

Some of those words have stuck around, but most of them are considered to be antiques, because as the times have changed, so has the language we use to describe them. Ties that bind us together, as a nation, no matter where we,or our parents, were born.



  1. I never really had an opinion either way about w00t until now. I now think it is a helluva jazzy word. I also think that Momma Kat should not be video taping herself while she drives. However, the Margaritas she was w00ting about did look delicious! LOL

  2. With all due respect to Mama Kat, I find it a lot of fun to mix old and new words together, even the cringe worthy ones like LOL. How can one not love LOL. It says pretty much everything.

  3. May the woot be with you.....

    Stopping over from the Best of the Week. (If I spelled it weak I know you would have fixed it. )

  4. So loved this post! And can I just say, that despite her efforts to make the word look as though it doesn't 'work,' I thought her examples were hilarious, and were actually very fitting! The next time I'm toasting with my giant, yummy margarita, I'm letting out a big ol' w00t...or however it's supposed to be spelled! So looks to me like her efforts failed! Wo0t!...see, that word is so going to catch on now!


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!