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Unfortunately, Merriam-Webster’s 2016 Word Of The Year Is Too Perfect

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

2016 has been a trip, this much we know, but would the Word of the Year reflect as much? The 2015 word of the year was ‘-ism.’ In 2014, the word was ‘culture.’ So surely this year’s word would be a spot-on representation of the madness that was 2016. You’ve got celebrities dying left and right and reality TV stars becoming the president. A dead gorilla may have been the one unifying event of the whole year. You know what you call that? Surreal.

Via Merriam-Webster:

Surreal is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year because it was looked up significantly more frequently by users in 2016 than it was in previous years, and because there were multiple occasions on which this word was the one clearly driving people to their dictionary.

There are essentially two kinds of high-volume lookups that we track: perennial words that are looked up day-in and day-out, and words that spike because of news events, politics, pop culture, or sports. By analyzing these spikes, we can get a sense as to what significant events sent people to the dictionary, and sometimes, what people think about those events.

Surreal had three major spikes in interest that were higher in volume and were sustained for longer periods of time than in past years. In March, the word was used in coverage of the Brussels terror attacks. Then, in July, we saw the word spike again: it was used in descriptions of the coup attempt in Turkey and in coverage of the terrorist attack in Nice. Finally, we saw the largest spike in lookups for surreal following the U.S. election in November.

Here are some of the other words that Merriam-Webster considered:

Revenant
Icon
In Omnia Paratus
Bigly
Deplorable
Irregardless
Assumpsit
Faute de Mieux
Feckless

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    Eric ItalianoCOED Writer
    A New Jersey native & Rutgers University graduate who firmly believes it's better to be lucky than good. My goal in life is to one day write a Batman screenplay. You can probably find me somewhere cooking either too little or too much pasta. contact me - eric.italiano@teamcoed.com
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