For the past 25 years, as the end of the year approaches, the editors of several dictionaries review the news of the year and spikes in word lookups to determine which specific word reflects the zeitgeist of the world. The editors of Dictionary.com announced today that the 2016 word of the year is “xenophobia.” The editors note: “This year, some of the most prominent news stories have centered around fear of the ‘other.’ Fear is an adaptive part of human evolutionary history and often influences behaviors and perceptions on a subconscious level. However, this particular year saw fear rise to the surface of cultural discourse.” The editors cite pronounced worldwide spikes in the lookups in the context of the Syrian refugee crisis, the UK’s controversial exit from the European Union (referred to as “Brexit”), and a number of issues that impacted the U.S. — policy shootings, transgender bathroom designations, and a very hostile and divisive presidential race.
Dictionary.com defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. It can also refer to fear or dislike of customs, dress, and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own.” The word is derived from the Greek words xenos (meaning “stranger or guest”) and phobos (meaning “fear”).
Read related posts: Word of the Year 2015 (U.S.)
Word of the Year 2015 (UK)
Top Ten Words of the Year: 2015
Word of the Year 2013
Word of the Year 2012
How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?
How Many Words in the English Language?
For further reading: http://blog.dictionary.com/xenophobia/?param=DcomHP