Best and worst words of 2017 underlined

The best and worst words of 2017 have been named in a joint initiative by the Riga Latvian Society and Latvian Writers' Union for the 15th consecutive year, reports Latvian Television. 

A pair of words, the verb straumēt (stream) and participle straumēšana (streaming), were named the best words of 2017. While the two have been current in Latvian for some time, they were picked as the 2017 word because of the rapid rise of music and video streaming services. Latvian straume means 'stream, current' (as in water flow). 

Candidates for the one word to rule them all included viltusziņas (fake news), viedoklizācija (imposing your opinion on someone violently), uzpirktenis (a corrupt person, pun on uzpirkstenis or sewing thimble) as well as the zinger pežģīnes (an obsession with prurient stories), a portmanteau consisting of a rude term for a vagina and mežģīnes (lace, but with connotations of a riveting tale or story). 

The worst word of 2017, on the other hand, was transporti, which the people who picked this word say is an unnecessary plural of transports and is taken to mean 'means of transportation'. 

In a separate category, the best saying of 2017 was Health Minister Anda Čakša's apposite "It's best to give birth in Latvia." The minister recently gave birth to her third child. In Latvia.

There's also an award for word salad. These were picked by the board of the Riga Latvian Society and can be taken to be either very ambiguous or seriously confusing.  

  • "There's a power outage due to more and more people's strong winds." (Arvien vairāk cilvēku spēcīgā vēja dēļ pārtraukta elektroapgāde)
  • "An average 1,000 newborns don't register their father each year." (Vidēji 1000 jaundzimušo katru gadu nereģistrē tēvu)

These were picked by a jury comprised of editor, terminology expert and translator Aldis Lauzis; sociolinguist Vineta Poriņa; translator Ieva Kolmane; architect and public worker Maija Sinka-Gobiņa; head of the language school Iveta Grīnberga; editor Guna Kalniņa; and journalist, poet and opinion expert Egīls Zirnis. 

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