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Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year truly encapsulates the events and feelings of 2016. The dictionary named “surreal” as its 2016 Word of the Year, explaining that it saw several spikes because of major and, at times, tragic events, ultimately seeing its largest spike after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Merriam-Webster defines surreal as “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream,” in addition to “very strange or unusual : having the quality of a dream.” According to the press release, the word “is often looked up spontaneously in moments of both tragedy and surprise, whether or not it is used in speech or writing. This is not surprising: we often search for just the right word to help us bring order to abstract thoughts, emotions, or reactions.” Some of those moments included the Brussels terror attacks, the terrorist attack in Nice, the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Brexit vote.

Some of the other notable words that people searched for this year, according to Merriam-Webster include:

  • Revenant
  • Icon
  • In Omnia Paratus
  • Bigly
  • Deplorable
  • Irregardless
  • Assumpsit
  • Faute de Mieux
  • Feckless

Trending words this year, which were heavily influenced by politics, include “misogyny,” “acrimonious,” “nasty,” “bigot,” “puppy” and “fascism.” Fascism was close to being named Word of the Year as it was their most-looked-up word as of Nov. 29. Thankfully, after a plea from their Twitter account, lookups slowly began to change. Ultimately, the word “surreal” took the crown, a word that perfectly described the dreamlike state of 2016.

Social Media Reacts to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

What are your thoughts on Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year? Do you like their pick of “surreal” or do you think the Oxford Dictionaries and Dictionary.com choices were more fitting? Sound off in the comments section below!