Socialism, Capitalism Most Looked-Up Words of 2012

Dec 5, 2012 3:50pm

Dueling fiscal philosophies had a high-profile in 2012.  Socialism and capitalism were the two most looked-up words of the year, dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster announced on Wednesday.

The two words owe their heightened profile in large part, it seems, to the 2012 election cycle rhetoric. The big spikes in look-ups for both words came during healthcare arguments, in the days following each party’s political convention, and in the days after each of the four presidential debates, according to Merriam-Webster.

“It’s fascinating to see which language from a campaign or debate speech resonates with our users,” John M. Morse, President and Publisher at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement on Wednesday. “With socialism and capitalism, it’s clear that many people turned to the dictionary to help make sense of the commentary that often surrounds these words.”

The two words were often tied together in searches- meaning when someone looked up either socialism or capitalism, they were likely to then look-up the other word.

Lighter political rhetoric also seemed to sink into the cultural zeitgeist this year. Number eight on the list of the top ten most searched words of 2012 was malarkey- a word made famous by Joe Biden during the Vice Presidential debate.

Other popular words in 2012 were not as politically focused- touché, professionalism and schadenfreude- the German term that describes a pleasure derived from others misfortunes- made the top ten list as well.

Here’s the full list.

1.) socialism and capitalism

2.) touché

3.) bigot

4.) marriage

5.) democracy

6.) professionalism

7.) globalization

8.) malarkey

9.) schadenfreude

10.) meme

 

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