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've got "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. That makes "fun" as an adjective informal usage. 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. This small group clearly includes Steve Jobs, who has just thrust "funnest" into the spotlight. I predict the "funnest iPod ever" campaign will increase the general use of "funnest" and could even push it into the informal usage category. Now that's power.
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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, 2003, p. 371.
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
- Changing Usage: 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."
One online comment that calls "fun" as an adjective "informal"
Other Interesting Links
- Dictionary.com entry for "attributive noun"
- Oxford English Dictionary entry for "fun" (subscription required)
· 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.")