Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2017


About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

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Our Word of the Year for 2017 is … populism.

Choosing our Word of the Year required looking at not only the most searched-for words, but also ‘spikes’ – occasions when a word is suddenly looked up many more times than usual on or around a particular date.

On 22 January 2017, as a polarizing candidate was being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, searches for the word inauguration on the online Cambridge Dictionary spiked. But so did searches for the word populism because, on that same day, Pope Francis warned against a rising tide of populism in a widely reported interview with ElPais newspaper. In mid-March, after another high-profile interview with the pontiff – this time with the German newspaper Die Zeit – searches for populism spiked again.

Spikes can reveal what is on our users’ minds and, in what’s…

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