Xenophobia & Fascism: The Words That Defined 2016 According to Dictionaries

They could join the Oxford English Dictionaries’ pick of “post-truth”

Earlier in November, we reported on the Oxford English Dictionaries’ selection of ‘“post-truth” as the international word of the year. This week, more dictionaries are following suit in the annual tradition, and much like the OED, their picks reflect the grim reality of 2016.

On Monday, Dictionary.com announced “xenophobia” as its chosen word. The site defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers,” or the, “fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself.” The decision to make xenophobia the word of the year is due in part to the deluge of the searches it received, but also because of the term’s mounting cultural relevance. There was a noticeable spike in lookups during the summer months around Brexit, and the mass interest also happened to coincide with President Obama’s June 29th address to the Canadian Parliament, in which he condemned the xenophobic rhetoric of our future President.

Dictionary.com had former US Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, breakdown their 2016 Word of the Year in the video below:

If that’s not sad enough, The Guardian reports Merriam-Webster is making a final plea to its users to stop fascism from becoming its word of the year.

Unlike Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster chooses its word of the year solely based on the number of lookups, and as it stands, fascism is the top search. They’ve proposed that everyone take some time out of their day to search “flummadiddle” on their site, which means “nonsense.”

About the Author

More Like This

7 Novels that Make U.S. Foreign Policy Feel Real

From the Iran-Contra Affair to the Vietnam War, these books make clear the human impact of American intervention abroad

Jul 11 - Daphne Kalotay

The New National Literature of Canada Is Being Written by Women

The most important voices in Canadian lit are the ones that have historically been silenced

Jul 10 - Cynthia Gralla

The Strange Connection Between Detective Fiction and Union Busting

The Pinkerton agency exerted a strong pull on crime novelists from Victorian England to Soviet Russia—but who were the Pinkertons really?

Jul 9 - Erica Eisen