Merriam-Webster’s word of the year: “Culture”

Posted on: December 17, 2014

“The word ‘culture’ has been named 2014’s word of the year by Merriam-Webster, the company behind the popular English dictionary,” writes David Ng in Monday’s (12/15) Los Angeles Times. “Time magazine has its person of the year (it was the Ebola health workers for 2014 ), and likewise, Merriam-Webster, the company behind the trusted English dictionary, has its word of the year, which for 2014 was the word ‘culture’ in all of its definitions. Merriam-Webster said in its announcement earlier this month that ‘culture’ is a ‘big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar.’ The company chooses its word of the year based on a set of criteria that includes the number of online searches for a particular word and how much those searches rose from the previous year. It said that in 2014, the word has moved beyond its academic or classroom usage to ‘the conversation at large, appearing in headlines and analyses across a wide swath of topics.’ Merriam-Webster’s primary definition of ‘culture’ is the ‘beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.’ … Last year’s word of the year was ‘science.’ ”

Posted December 17, 2014