Is "Funnest" a Word?
It depends on whether you think "fun" is an adjective.
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The Final Analysis
In the end, I've come to believe that there is a “fun” continuum. On one end you have "fun," the noun, and everyone is happy to cluster around and be associated with it. That's the standard usage.
Then, if you move on to "fun," the adjective, you've got a smaller but still significant group of people who will give their approval.
And then as you move on down the continuum you've got a much smaller group of people who are willing to grab "funner" and "funnest" by the shoulders and give them a big welcoming hug. That would be an example of language in flux. (For more examples, see my TedX talk about language change). If you remember an Apple marketing campaign from way back in 2008, you’ll remember that Steve Jobs was part of this group. He thrust "funnest" into the spotlight when he predicted Apple’s new iPod would be the "funnest iPod ever.” And maybe it was, but technology is fickle and language change is constant—iPod sales have fallen every year since 2009, but the popularity of “funnest” keeps growing.
If you like grammar, I bet you also like good manners. Grammar and manners have gone together for hundreds of years. They’re like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese. Check out the Modern Manners Guy podcast, also from Quick and Dirty Tips. One of his recent topics was How to Handle a Disrespectful Crowd During a Speaking Gig. I hope I never have to deal with that, but if I do, I’m confident the Modern Manners Guy will know how to do it politely.
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1. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1994, pp. 469-70.
2. Garner, B. Garner's Modern American Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 416.
3. The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 197.
4. The Grammar Logs. #596, March 24, 2004, http://tinyurl.com/3nwddd (accessed September 9, 2008).
5. Wallraff, B. Word Court 87 (2000).
Online comments that include objections to "fun" as an adjective
- A "Fun" Topic
- The Oxford English Dictionary does not list "fun" as an adjective, nor does it include the words "funner" and "funnest."
Other Interesting Links
· World Wide Words article about "fun" (Perhaps the best article online about the word "fun.”
The author doesn't take a strong stand on "fun" as an adjective but is opposed to "funner" and "funnest.")
This article was originally published September 12, 2008 and updated June 15, 2016.