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Maltese snowman is on list of ‘words of the year’

Malta’s little snowmen earned the name borrinu this Christmas. Photo: Jonathan Zarb

Malta’s little snowmen earned the name borrinu this Christmas. Photo: Jonathan Zarb

Did you take a stessu (selfie) with your borrinu last week, when parts of Malta were blanketed overnight by what many believe was snow?

While the excitement of the rare event was shared through photos of miniature snowmen, social media users were struggling for a word which they had never needed until then. So they coined the word borrinu (snowman) – just as a small chocolate is ċikkulatina and a young Toni is a Toninu.

Borrinu was one of the 11 “words of the year” chosen by the popular Facebook page Kelma Kelma run by University of Malta lecturer Michael Spagnol.

Every year the online Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, among others, list new English words that made it into the pop-culture lexicon. Selfie was reportedly 2013’s biggest, and the Maltese version stessu also made it into the list of words for that year.

Kelma Kelma's top 11 for 2014 were: Bjondata – to do or say something stupid or take ages to understand a joke, Warazza – someone with a nice backside but not otherwise attractive, Tistessja – taking a selfie, Nisatur – womaniser, Borrinu – snowman, Kejkina – a muffin or a cupcake, Xorbgażmu – the feeling you get after having a drink or two following weeks of abstention, Logħoburist – the one person on Facebook that constantly sends game requests to his friends, Fottifesti – killjoy, Tissajfaġġja – indulge in excessive pleasure all summer and Titbarmel – throw an icecold bucket of water over your head

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