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I have just encountered this word on a news entitled " 'Unfriend' or 'Defriend?' Facebook Fans Debate", and here is the sentence:

"No, unfriend is definitely more lexy," wrote another commenter. (link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/unfriend-defriend-facebook-fans-debate/story?id=9106240)

Actually I have looked for the definition of the word "lexy" online ( that's the only tool I have now) and Urban Dictionary was the only one I found mentioning this, but the definitions given in this dictionary doesn't seem fit the sentence well (except for the second one, which seems to fit the sentence above most and the writer of which wrote that it is a combination of "lush+sexy", whereby it means "highly fashionable"), so I would like to ask you.

Thank you.

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Context from the article

This week, the New Oxford American Dictionary -- OAD for short -- announced that the 2009 Word of the Year is "unfriend," as in "to remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site."

Describing it as a word with "real lex-appeal" on Oxford University Press USA's blog, Christine Lindberg, a senior lexicographer for the publisher, said, "It has both currency and longevity."

So I surmise that "lexy" is not a common word but obvious lexicographer specific slang denoting something that sounds better lexicographically

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It appears to be a combination of "lex" from "lexicography" and "sexy", probably invented by the commenter. The discussion was about word usage, wasn't it? (The link is dead so I couldn't read it).

  • I fixed the link - it was easy to find – mplungjan Jun 20 '14 at 6:22
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    I would hazard a guess that the coinage refers to unfriend as being more like a proper "word"; "wordy" wouldn't fit because it means verbose. – Mari-Lou A Jun 20 '14 at 8:36
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Describing it [unfriend] as a word with "real lex-appeal" on Oxford University Press USA's blog, Christine Lindberg, a senior lexicographer for the publisher, said, "It has both currency and longevity."

"No, unfriend is definitely more lexy," wrote another commenter. "Defriend misses the whole point and is both boring and uncreative. Unfriend should be compared to undo – which is in social networking exactly what one does. It's not befriending someone and making acquaintances in reverse, it's just undoing a function – unhitting the friend button."

It seems the debate is whether unfriend or defriend are acceptable terms to describe the action of "deleting" a friend on Facebook. Delete sounds harsh and has an almost homicidal ring to it, hence the need to create a verb which is less pejorative.

To my mind, the commenter coined the expression lexy to mean that unfriend is a proper word, that it sounds "wordy" but unfortunately wordy has its own distinct meaning.

using or expressed in too many words. Synonyms: verbose, prolix, lengthy, protracted, etc.

Lexis is a noun meaning The total set of words in a language as distinct from morphology; vocabulary The addition of the letter -y to the first syllable, lex, changes the noun into an adjective. It is merely a happy coincidence (serendipity?) that lexy sounds like sexy, I defy anyone to say "unfriend" is a sexy-sounding word.

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