Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year Perfectly Sums Up 2016

Above: 2016's word of the year, is "surreal"
Above: 2016's word of the year, is "surreal"

Every twelve months, grammar wizards and definition connoisseurs, Merriam-Webster, select a new word of the year. The famous publisher pulls from terms that were on the tip of our tongues and the crux of our online searches. The eventual word of the year ends up saying a lot about the aforementioned time period, and becomes a great reference point for the past 365 days. While 2015 and 2014’s words of the year were “-ism” and “culture” respectively, this latest edition is perhaps the most apt in a long time. Earlier today, Merriam-Webster announced 2016’s word of the year as “surreal”, and boy did they hit the nail on the head with this one. Reflecting on 2016’s dreary global climate, sad political landscape, and plethora of disasters, have made this year seem pretty surreal indeed. Check out the announcement below, via the company’s twitter account.

Merriam-Webster lexicographer, Peter Sokolowski, explained how his team arrived at the word of the year in a short video statement. The wordsmith says that the title is awarded to a term that garners a high volume of searches while spiking in monthly trends. “Surreal” happened to do both, due to its association with newsworthy affairs. The word’s frequent appearance this year can be attributed to an endless stream of unexpected happenings – for example, America’s electoral upset, and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

Along with the top prize, Merriam-Webster also listed off a series of words that demanded high traffic throughout the year. You can read those after the jump.

  1. Revenant
  2. Icon
  3. In Omnia Paratus
  4. Bigly
  5. Deplorable
  6. Irregardless
  7. Assumpsit
  8. Faute de Mieux
  9. Feckless

It’s an interesting group of words, and it truly says a lot about 2016. Hopefully, 2017 can turn things around. We’re crossing our fingers that Merriam-Webster’s next edition of word of the year takes a turn for the better. Maybe it can be, like, puppies or something?

Aidan D'Aoust

Aidan D'Aoust

Aidan is a writer from Toronto. His favourite things in the world are music, movies, and mini dachshunds. Give him a follow on Twitter at @aidandaoust, where he’ll also accept your mixtape submissions.

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