"Austerity" picked "Word of the Year" by on-line searches

14:07, December 21, 2010      

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Reflecting widespread concern over the grim global economic conditions, "austerity" was selected as the most-looked-up word in 2010 by on-line users, according to a list released Monday by a U.S. leading language reference publisher.

Austerity, defined as "enforced or extreme economy," topped the list of Top Ten Words of the Year for 2010 compiled by Merriam- Webster based on the volume of user lookups at its website in response to current events and conditions.

"Austerity clearly resonates with many people," said Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster, who monitors on- line dictionary searches. "We often hear it used in the context of government measures, but we also apply it to our own personal finances and what is sometimes called the new normal."

Merriam-Webster began producing such kind of list since 2003. At first, it determined its contents by analyzing page hits and popular searches on its website. Since 2006, the list has been determined by an on-line poll and by suggestions from visitors to the site.

The Words of the Year usually reflect events that happened during the year. It's nothing surprising that "austerity" gained top place in this year's list, as many western countries, not only in Europe but also the United States, are facing significant challenges in trimming budget deficit and national debt, which many economists warned as the greatest risk to the recovery.

Also on this year's list are pragmatic, moratorium, socialism, bigot, doppelganger, shellacking, ebullient, dissident, and furtive.

Although a number of words on this year's list reflect a somber national mood, one notable exception is ebullient -- "having or showing liveliness and enthusiasm" -- which leaped to the top of the searches as the world watched the rescue of the Chilean miners, said the company.

Source: Xinhua
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