Decade Slips Away With No Name

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
So what the hell do we call it?

Link

Please spare me and the other readers of this thread the inane, "the decade doesn't end for another year" crap. kthxbai.

Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary, cannot escape the question: What should we call this decade? We have the '80s, the '90s, and . . . the "twenty hundreds"?

Sheidlower has faced the query, often posed in panicky tones, at cocktail parties, in letters to the editor, and in phone calls to his word-saturated office. The anxiety began in the mid-'90s, then stretched into the early whatchamacallits -- Aughts? -- and has now reached fever pitch as the decade winds to a close.

With six days remaining until the '10s begin, Sheidlower has bad news for those searching for the answer. "For years and years, people have been seeking a solution," he said. "Well, it never happened. We don't have a name for the decade. Sorry."

Dictionary editors, linguists and even radio DJs say we have entered a semantic black hole in which the English language failed to produce a term for the outgoing decade in the same way it has failed to find a catchy moniker for your former in-laws. (Out-laws never stuck.) The language is stumped. The Zeroes? The Ohs? The Oh-Ohs? Help!



Our mouths seem destined to stumble. On New Year's Eve, in the moments before the ball drops in Times Square, Ryan Seacrest will smile into the cameras and take on the challenge of summing up the years that will be remembered for a terrorist attack on American soil, a near-depression, the election of the nation's first black president and Tiger Woods's contingent of girlfriends. "Let's count down now as the -- what? -- slips away."
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
I thought they were called The Noughties (or variant: The Naughties)?


I remember having gone through this conversation near the beginning of this decade, probably at MR as well. :eek:
 

-Ryan-

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2009
1,580
110
I'm pretty sure the generally accepted term is The Noughties. At least in the UK. It's one of these phrases that no one actually uses in day-to-day speech though; it's a media creation and obsession. Similar to things like twitterverse and Euroscepticism.
 

.Andy

macrumors 68030
Jul 18, 2004
2,946
583
The Mergui Archipelago
I thought they were called The Noughties (or variant: The Naughties)?


I remember having gone through this conversation near the beginning of this decade, probably at MR as well. :eek:
I concur on both these :). And I quite like the name the "noughties".

ucfgrad93 said:
Why does it need a name?
So people in their 20s can lament how crap commerial music is compared to the nineties. So teenagers can reminisce how great the music was. And how today's pre-pubescents know what decade to refer to for their retro music.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,300
10,372
UK
So people in their 20s can lament how crap commerial music is compared to the nineties. So teenagers can reminisce how great the music was. And how today's pre-pubescents know what decade to refer to for their retro music.
Any decade where the O2 can rate an NSync album (starring songs like this) as one of the best of the decade clearly does have pretty bad taste in music. And I was less than 15 at the time of that album's release ;).
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
5,809
344
Milwaukee, WI
As to the name for the decade you're interested in, I've most frequently heard it called the 2000's. That has obvious problems. Why didn't anyone just ask someone who was old enough to remember what the decade was called 100 years ago?

Please spare me and the other readers of this thread the inane, "the decade doesn't end for another year" crap. kthxbai.
That's not crap. It's arithmetic. But since you are defining the decade you're interested in as the years between 2000 and 2009 (inclusive), it's not pertinent. Your lament, quoted above, doesn't specify which decade. ("the ____? decade") If you were to refer to the 200th decade, then the arithmetic would be pertinent. You could also define a decade as the years between, say 1995 and 2004 (inclusive) of course. It depends on your purpose for grouping a set of 10 years.

Back on topic... call it "the first decade beginning with 2000". Yikes!

I'm waiting for the year that we drop the "Two Thousand and....." (usually without the "and") My guess is that it will be 2020.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
That's not crap. It's arithmetic. But since you are defining the decade you're interested in as the years between 2000 and 2009 (inclusive), it's not pertinent. Your lament, quoted above, doesn't specify which decade. ("the ____? decade") If you were to refer to the 200th decade, then the arithmetic would be pertinent. You could also define a decade as the years between, say 1995 and 2004 (inclusive) of course. It depends on your purpose for grouping a set of 10 years.
You're clearly making this more difficult than it has to be. It's just semantics. Every one of us knew precisely what rdowns meant by the name of the past decade, and that this past decade, which he meant as ranging from 2000-2009, isn't technically over yet.....
 

bobob

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2008
2,877
1,630
With six days remaining until the '10s begin...
I mean, the 10's would refer to 2010-2019, and not 2000-2009.

I have every confidence that this upcoming decade will be known as the Teens, not the 10's. Maybe not so much at first, but as we move into the later years of the decade and most certainly afterwards.

As for this just concluding decade, I have yet to hear the correct answer - the one that will stand the test of time.
 

Gregg2

macrumors 603
May 22, 2008
5,809
344
Milwaukee, WI
You're clearly making this more difficult than it has to be. It's just semantics. Every one of us knew precisely what rdowns meant by the name of the past decade, ... which he meant as ranging from 2000-2009...
No I'm not, and no it isn't. And, you didn't quote the portion of my post that acknowledged the understanding. rdowns made a reference to the "counting issue" that I also responded to. It's not difficult at all. It boils down to this: The first year of the 1st Century, A.D. was 1, not 0. (And, yes, I know which decade we're in, and it's not the 200th.)