December 30, 2013

“Science” is the word of the year (2013)

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

NOTE: Link in the above tweet is no longer valid. This link will take you to the article in SF Gate.

The dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster determined that “science” is the word of the year for 2013, beating out other contenders such as “communication,” “ethic,” and “integrity” (see article on the Merriam-Webster website).  How did science rise to the top?  Merriam-Webster made this determination by “analyzing the top lookups in the online dictionary at and focusing on the words that showed the greatest increase in lookups this year as compared to last year.” Interestingly, if you look at their top 10 list, the words are not new words but ones that came up quite frequently in the news this past year, what they are calling “the words behind the headlines.”

But not all dictionary publishers agree with the Merriam-Webster selection.  For Oxford Dictionaries, “selfie” was their word for 2013.  And chose “privacy” as their word of the year.

So make note… all those words you look up in online dictionaries become contenders for word of the year!  It is nice to know that more and more people are looking up the word “science” – now if we can only get the Google autocomplete to come up with better suggestions for “science is…” (in addition, see my post on “Scientists are…”).

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