Merriam-Webster is making a plea that its online users not allow the word “fascism” to become the word of the year after it increased 400 percent in the number of lookups over the year before.
The dictionary site tweeted out its plea with only a few weeks left in the year, having noticed a surge in inquiries about the word’s meaning.
Within about two hours, The Washington Post said, Merriam-Webster reported there was an increase in searches for flummadiddle, which means nonsense. The dictionary site did note, however, that flummadiddle could only outpace fascism if "everyone" searched it at least twice a day until the end of 2016.
According to Merriam-Webster, the selection of the word of the year reveals more than just the volume of lookups. The word also gives the site "a window into what people are thinking." This year’s presidential election led to many accusations about fascism that got people wondering about its meaning, possibly to see whether the accusations held merit.
Socialism was another word that ranked high on the list as Bernie Sanders gained popularity during the primaries, but his defeat and the fact that socialism has been selected as a word before have taken it out of the running as a contender for this year, the Post said.
Other words popular this year include bigot, misogyny, and xenophobe, Merriam Webster said in another tweet.
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