Coming to terms with the immature

December 27, 2004|By Rob Hiaasen | Rob Hiaasen,SUN STAFF

The Boston Red Sox were named "Sportsmen of the Year" by Sports Illustrated. Vijay Singh was named the PGA's "Player of the Year." Time named President Bush its "Person of the Year." And Rolling Stone recently named the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Too many words.

We need one word, a word worthy of the greatest of word titles.

Well, there is such a word, according to Webster's New World College Dictionary. The gatekeepers of American vocabulary have announced their "Word of the Year 2004":

Adultescent n. an adult who has not achieved expected intellectual maturity or who indulges in the tastes and attitudes of youth.

Webster's editors are loving a new gust of words that suggest a lack of child-to-adult transition - blends such as middlescent, kidult and this year's winning word. The editors say there's even an adultescent phenomenon known as the Peter Pandemic - as if we need to be told this.

Here's a simple quiz you can take in the privacy of your home. If you were intellectually mature enough, you would reveal the results - but, really, we don't expect that.

Which of these is must-see reading?

A. "The Vikings: A Memorable Visit to America" from the December issue of Smithsonian

B. "Diseases Doctors Miss" coming in the January issue of Reader's Digest

C. Webster's New World College Dictionary

D. "Women of McDonald's" from Playboy.com's November pictorial

Who is your favorite radio personality?

A. Tavis Smiley

B. Terry Gross

C. Marc Steiner

D. Howard Stern

Which is your favorite TV show?

A. The Wire

B. Antiques Roadshow

C. Boston Legal

D. Family Guy

Which of the following was the last book you read?

A. The Five People You Meet in Heaven

B. The Da Vinci Code

C. I Am Charlotte Simmons

D. How To Make Love Like a Porn Star

Which of these is your dream vehicle?

A. Toyota Prius

B. Chevrolet Suburban

C. Honda Odyssey

D. Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide (with 4-speaker AM/FM/CD)

Which movie did you see most recently?

A. Ocean's Twelve

B. Blade: Trinity

C. Sideways

D. Old School

Which of the following is your favorite word?

A. adult

B. scent

C. adultescent

D. McMuffin

If you answered D to all of the questions, you are an adultescent.

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