Word of the Year 2016


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.

IELTSMaterial.com Word of the Year 2016 - xenophobia

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

Meaning: an e-cigarette

Word of the Year in 2013: Selfie

Meaning: a photo captured with a smartphone or other digital camera by person in the photograph, especially for posting on social media (Facebook, Twitter, …)

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Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through ieltsmaterial.com. With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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