Word of the Year Our Word of the Year choice serves as a symbol of each year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends. It all The Things You Are – Jo Stafford With Paul Weston And His Orchestra – Sings Broadway’s Best an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year. So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections. Change It wasn’t trendy, funny, nor was it coined on Twitter, but we thought change told a real story about how our users defined 2010.
The national debate can arguably be summarized by the question: In the past two years, has there been enough change? Meanwhile, many Americans continue to face change in their homes, bank accounts and jobs. Only time will tell if the latest wave of change Americans voted for in the midterm elections will result in a negative or positive outcome. Tergiversate This rare word was chosen to represent 2011 because it described so much of the world around us. Tergiversate means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc. Bluster In a year known for the Occupy movement and what became known as the Arab Spring, our lexicographers chose bluster as their Word of the Year for 2012. 2012 saw the most expensive political campaigns and some of the most extreme weather events in human history, from floods in Australia to cyclones in China to Hurricane Sandy and many others.
Privacy We got serious in 2013. Privacy was on everyone’s mind that year, from Edward Snowden’s reveal of Project PRISM to the arrival of Google Glass. Exposure Spoiler alert: Things don’t get less serious in 2014. Our Word of the Year was exposure, which highlighted the year’s Ebola virus outbreak, shocking acts of violence both abroad and in the US, and widespread theft of personal information. From the pervading sense of vulnerability surrounding Ebola to the visibility into acts of crime or misconduct that ignited critical conversations about race, gender, and violence, various senses of exposure were out in the open this year. Identity Fluidity of identity was a huge theme in 2015. Language around gender and sexual identity broadened, becoming more inclusive with additions to the dictionary like gender-fluid as well as the gender-neutral prefix Mx.
Xenophobia In 2016, we selected xenophobia as our Word of the Year. Fear of the “other” was a huge theme in 2016, from Brexit to President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric. Despite being chosen as the 2016 Word of the Year, xenophobia is not to be celebrated. Rather it’s a word to reflect upon deeply in light of the events of the recent past. Complicit The word complicit sprung up in conversations in 2017 about those who spoke out against powerful figures and institutions and about those who stayed silent.
It was a year of real awakening to complicity in various sectors of society, from politics to pop culture. Our choice for Word of the Year is as much about what is visible as it is about what is not. It’s a word that reminds us that even inaction is a type of action. The silent acceptance of wrongdoing is how we’ve gotten to this point.
We must not let this continue to be the norm. If we do, then we are all complicit. Quiz Yourself: Can You Tell Good Luck From Bad? Our Shangri-la Is A New Word Of The Day Quiz! Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
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