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“Culture” is 2014’s Word of the Year


noun ˈkəl-chər
: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
: a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
: a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

Last month, dictionary giant Merriam-Webster named “culture” as the 2014 word of the year.  The company based its pick on significant increases in lookups this year on its website Merriam-Webster.com.  Oxford Dictionaries chose the word “vape,” while Dictionary.com picked “exposure” to represent their word of the year.

Editor at large for Merriam-Webster, Peter Sokolowski said, “We’re simply using the world culture more frequently.  It may be a fad.  It may not.  It may simply be evolution.”  The word “culture” has seen a 15 percent year-over-year lookup increase on the company’s website and app.  Sokolowski also noted that people look up words even if they already know what they mean.  Sometimes, he said, we seek a way to check in on ourselves or seek inspiration.  

Sokolowski mentions several reasons why the word was so popular this year.  One reason is that the world “culture” is a chameleon.  “When you put it next to another word it means something very different.”  For example there is, “consumer culture,” “culture of transparency” in government and business, “celebrity culture,” and even the “culture of winning” in sports.  Before “culture” became such a popular world choice, Sokolowski said, “we used to talk about ‘society’ a lot.  Certain groups are taking ‘society’ out of their names now.  It seems to be receding.  Part of that seems to be because it’s elitist.  We’re using the world culture more frequently in that place.”   


For more on this story as well as runners-up for the 2014 word of the year, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/15/merriam-webster-names-culture-word-year/