Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year Perfectly Sums Up a Trash 2016

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year is the perfect close to 2016 (hint: it's not "unpresidented.")

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

"Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream." That's the definition of the word "surreal," Merriam-Webster's freshly announced word of the year for 2016. In an article about the word's selection, Merriam-Webster writes that "surreal" was chosen "because it was looked up significantly more frequently by users in 2016 than it was in previous years, and because there were multiple occasions on which this word was the one clearly driving people to their dictionary."

1) 'Surreal' is one of the most common lookups following a tragedy
2) 'Surreal' is our 2016 Word of the Year

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 19, 2016

Merriam-Webster also listed nine additional words that were notable look-ups, which included "Revenant" for all you Leo fans:

  1. Revenant
  2. Icon
  3. In Omnia Paratus
  4. Bigly
  5. Deplorable
  6. Irregardless
  7. Assumpsit
  8. Faute de Mieux
  9. Feckless

Merriam-Webster added that the "largest spike in lookups for 'surreal' followed the U.S. presidential election in November." Other spikes for the word occurred after the terror attacks in Brussels in March, and again following coverage of the coup in Turkey and the terror attacks in Paris. 

Look-ups for the word "surreal" increase "in moments of both tragedy and surprise, whether or not it is used in speeches or articles," Merriam-Webster writes. 

At the end of November, Merriam-Webster tweeted that the word "fascism" was the top look-up so far, letting people know there was still time to make sure 2016 wasn't defined by a terrifying far-right political ideology that boasts members such as Hitler and Mussolini. 

'Fascism' is still our #1 lookup.

# of lookups = how we choose our Word of the Year.

There's still time to look something else up.

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 29, 2016

Here's to hoping next year is far less 'surreal' than this one.

Latest in Life