Number one word of the year


Merriam-Webster has released the top 10 words of the year. (Reuters)

Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster compiles the list each year by taking the most researched words on its Web sites and then excluding perennials such as affect/effect and profanity.

The company said most online dictionary queries were for uncommon terms, but people also turned to its Web sites for words in news headlines.

And the number one word is … “blog.”

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

Cicada was number 6.


One of my favourites - defenstration - is listed as number 10. It is particularly important with computer operating systems…

Here’s hoping that “Darwinism” soon makes it to the “obsolete” list.

Should we be worried that people are looking up these fairly simple words? I only had to scratch my head when I got to number 10. I would think that since most of these words were prominent in the year’s news stories that at the very least most people could figure it out from context.

Fortunately for me, “peloton” had its definition attached so I didn’t have to pull up a dictionary entry for it.  (I don’t follow bicycle racing so I have no reason to know its terms of art.)  I doubt that many in the top 50 would throw me, after years of crossword puzzles.  Now, if you’re reading Neal Stephenson’s Baroque cycle, you’re going to need an OED at hand - there are just too many words that Webster’s will not admit to having ever seen, even in the unabridged version.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on November 30, 2004 4:54 PM.

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