May 02, 2007


I missed this one, but an reader sent in a link, a couple of weeks late ("Public radio seeks 'hostiness' in 'Idol'-type search", AP, 4/13/2007):

“We’re looking for people with hostiness,” said executive director Jake Shapiro. Hostiness, he explained, is “that elusive, magnetic X-factor quality” all good hosts have.

There is a bit of more-or-less unrelated prior use, though some is blasphemously silly ("Schism in the Jon Stewart Religion", 9/6/2006):

Stewart is known as "His Hostiness" and Colbert as "His Truthiness."

and the rest is just plain silly, e.g.

How awesome my Saturday was because of your hostiness!
I look forward to your gracious hostiness.
I think Pointyjess and Mr Misery will attest to my hostiness qualifications.
Hooray for serverness! And, incidentally, this also means that I will eventually start doing e-mail hostiness!
I have my own place of hostiness that isn't photobucket.
etc., etc.

Analytically, we see that the prior usage is a convergence of cutesy -ness and Colbertian -iness.

(Looking over our truthiness archives, by the way, I see that Ben Zimmer was on top of the story within a few days of its start. So I have to apologize to our readers for being late to the hostiness party -- as always, the Language Log Marketing Department will refund your subscription fees in case of less than total satisfaction.)

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 2, 2007 06:02 PM