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The Boston Globe


The Word

All the president’s words

Whatever happened to our neologizers-in-chief?

When Barack Obama delivers his second inaugural address Monday, his speech will no doubt be full of the rhetorical flourishes we’ve come to expect. His words and phrases will go down in the history books. But will any end up in the dictionary?

It seems unlikely. Can you recall any contributions to the language from Obama’s first inauguration? The only word that stands out to me four years later is “faithfully,” which Chief Justice John Roberts misplaced while administering the oath of office without notes, necessitating a do-over ceremony the following day. (Come to think of it, I also remember ­“Swarovski,” the manufacturer of the crystals in Aretha Franklin’s ­jaw-dropping inaugural hat.)

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