The Word of the Year Has Just Been Announced (No, It’s Not Yuge, But It’s Ugly)
Can one word define 2016? Dictionary.com says it can.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt a little other.
Funny name, peculiar face. You know the sort of thing.
Mind you, I’ve always felt that pretty much everyone else is a little bit other too. Otherwise, we’d all be the same and where’s the sport in that?
It’s a little sad, then, that xenophobia has just been named the Word of the Year by Dictionary.com.
The word site explained that this word — meaning “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers” — began to surge in searches not after Donald Trump’s initial anti-foreigner pronouncements, but after the UK’s Brexit vote on June 24.
It was only afterward that xenophobia became more fascinating to Dictionary.com searchers in reference to the US Elections.
“Xenophobia and other words tied to global news and political rhetoric reflected the worldwide interest in the unfortunate rise of fear of otherness in 2016, making it the clear choice for Word of the Year,” said Dictionary.com’s CEO Liz McMillan.
This choice differed from that of Oxford Dictionaries, which recently decided that post-truth was its Word of the Year.
What does it say about our civilization, however, if our greatest interests lie in normalizing lying and fearing the other?
What does it say for those in management who now have to steer organizations in an atmosphere that smacks of civil war. Or, rather, extremely uncivil war?
One thing that Dictionary.com doesn’t know is why it was the particular word xenophobia — rather than any number of related words — that spiked so dramatically on its pages.
“Despite being chosen as the 2016 Word of the Year, xenophobia is not to be celebrated.” says the site. “Rather, it’s a word to reflect upon deeply in light of the events of the recent past.”
And events in the near future, one suspects.
BY CHRIS MATYSZCZYK - originally published on www.Inc.com Nov 30 2016