Dictionary.com, a 21-year-old site announced ‘xenophobia’ as its 2016 word of the year just several hours ago due to Brexit and American Election!
The “Word of the Year” is chosen based on search data and is meant to embody major themes in the collective cultural consciousness. In 2016, xenophobia spiked time and again reflected a recurring theme in the year’s news.
Dictionary.com defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers”. It origins stem from two Greek words — “xenos” meaning “stranger or guest” and “phobos” meaning “fear or panic”.
The biggest spikes in lookups for xenophobia came on June 24, the day after the United Kingdom voted to the leave the European Union and the second-largest hike happened on June 29 during Obama’s speech where he blasted then-candidate Trump for using “nativism, xenophobia or worse” in his rhetoric.
Word of the Year in 2015: emoji
Meaning: Face with Tears of Joy
This is a loanword from Japanese defined as ‘a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication’.
Word of the Year in 2014: Vape
Word of the Year in 2013: Selfie