The 2016 word of the year revealed

A lot of things happened this year – the Brexit vote, police violence against people of colour, Syria’s refugee crisis,
News has revealed its 2016 word of the year.

A lot of things happened this year – the Brexit vote, police violence against people of colour, Syria’s refugee crisis, transsexual rights and let’s not forget the US presidential race where Donald Trump became president-elect. These were among prominent developments that drove debate and spikes in lookups of the word, said Jane Solomon, one of’s lexicographers. But what is the top word of the year? Which word has had the most number of people interested in it? You might have recently thought about it, heard it, or even felt it as’s word of the year is “xenophobia”, reports ABC News.

The 21-year-old site defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers”.

Ms Solomon said it plans to expand its entry to include fear or dislike of “customs, dress and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own”.

The word did not enter the English language until the late 1800s, she said.

Its roots are in two Greek words — “xenos” meaning “stranger or guest” and “phobos” meaning “fear or panic”.

The interest was clear on June 24, the day of Brexit, when the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Searches for xenophobia on the site increased by 938 per cent from June 22 to June 24, Ms Solomon said.

Lookups spiked again that month after President Obama’s June 29 speech in which he insisted that Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric was not a measure of “populism,” but rather “nativism, or xenophobia, or worse”.

What does this word of the year say about the state of humans?

Did you know this word?

  1. Wiso  

    So when this tag is used to describe a group or individual who speak against just one group of foreigners, it is incorrect. Most of these people welcome with open arms the majority of ‘foreigners’ coming to our country and they do not have a general fear of foreigners, therefore they cannot be classed as xenophobics !!! It is only a distasteful minority that are not welcome and in my opinion that is just being patriotic and sensible, not xenophobic..

    • desleigh clarke  

      Agree completely !! Labels are ridiculous & in themselves discriminatory. Surely we should be allowed an opinion (and for a good reason I might add).

    • Jeff  

      It is the same as the cries of “Misogynist! ” and “Racist!” et al when someone crticises an individual for the failings of that individual. . Used to attempt to silence any criticism by verbal bullying.

  2. Paul  

    This term is old hat to Aussies. Ms Hansen didn’t know it many years ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *