The growing popularity of social networking websites has forced terms like ‘Tweetups’ and ’Unfriend’ to be included in the ‘words of the year’ list compiled by the Oxford English Dictionary.

‘Unfriend’ means to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a site such as Facebook. Voted the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, it shares the honours in the UK with the alternative ‘defriend’.

‘Tweetups’, which refers to the meetings or other gatherings organised though the posts in the social networking service Twitter, also one of the most popular words of the year, The Telgraph reported, citing a study by Oxford University Press.

“It has been another rich year,” said Susie Dent, the lexicographic specialist from the TV show Countdown, who led the team that compiled over 2 billion words to prepare the list.

“Last year, we found that ‘credit crunch’ was the most familiar new word, and the effect of the recession has stayed with us through 2009.”

'Jeggings', another top scorer in usage terms, comes from the traditional word-marrying, school of new terms -mixing jeans and leggings to describe new clothing style.

Snollygosters, meaning “shrewd, unprincipled people”, is actually an old word revived: first recorded in 1855, it fell into obscurity until the first stirrings of election fever in the early autumn.