Nfld. & Labrador

And the 2018 N.L. Word of the Year is ...

Boondoggle. Tangly. Cannaseur. Growler. Which one is worthy of the title?

Boondoggle. Tangly. Cannaseur. Growler. Which one is worthy of the title?

It was a fierce competition, but there can only be one winner. (Paula Gale/CBC)

There was some major competition — with people defiantly taking sides — but there is a winner for the 2018 N.L. Word of the Year. 

Congratulations, boondoggle!

"Stan Marshall, you win a [CBC] mug!" joked CBC Radio St. John's Morning Show co-host Fred Hutton. 

The word, at least most recently in Newfoundland and Labrador, is the term Marshall used to describe the Muskrat Falls megaproject back in 2016. 

Paul De Decker, a professor of linguistics at Memorial University in St. John's, had previously warned not to discount it, just because it was a couple of years old. 

"It has such an important and seriousness to it. As Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we should be thinking about it and thinking of ways not to get into the next boondoggle," he said. 

De Decker said it isn't a word exclusive to this province, but it is a word that's "immediately known."

Muskrat Falls has the dubious distinction of being labelled a boondoggle. (Nalcor Energy)

According to some sources, he said, boondoggle actually referred to something boy scouts wore around their necks to secure their neckties in place. 

"But then it got extended into meaning something frivolous and unnecessary … a waste of money," De Decker added. 

Close race

De Decker actually chose two words, and said it was a close race. 

The other big contender?


Ian Power gets the credit for using (creating?) the word when he was interviewed by CBC, in the minutes after weed was legalized as of 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 17. 

"I like to call myself a cannasseur.… I'm a cannasseur, not a stupid stoner," said Power, who was among the first people to purchase cannabis legally.

Ian Power says he is a 'cannasseur, not a stupid stoner.' (Ted Dillon/CBC)

There were some fierce advocates for that word to win, De Decker acknowledged.

"That word is connecting with people. It seems like it means something," he said.

"It's a good word because it takes the informally called pothead or stoner, and puts a positive twist to it."

Some — but far from all — other suggestions included:

  • Chase the Ace (even though it's three words).
  • Tangly.
  • Growler.
  • Shocking.
  • Skeet.

Thanks for all the suggestions and hey, take notes — 2019 is underway, and who knows what will reign supreme 12 months from now? 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from St. John's Morning Show and Lukas Wall


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