News’s ‘Word of the Year’ Is Super Depressing

News’s ‘Word of the Year’ Is Super Depressing


Each year, the word nerds at select a word of the year that “embodies a major theme resonating deeply in the cultural consciousness.” They do this by tracking spikes in looked up words and relating them back to the major moments and movements that defined the year. Last year, the word was identity—a complicated yet optimistic choice. This year, the word is xenophobia.

In 2016, xenophobia was a very popular world. The day after Brexit, searches for the term was up 938%. Throw the presidential election into the mix and you have yourself a winner. By the by, here’s the website’s entry for xenophobia:

1. fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers:

Xenophobia and nationalism can be seen as a reaction to the rise of globalization.

2. fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself:

Learning a foreign language can help to overcome xenophobia.
At least the second example was positive?
But as a statement on the website pointed out, we don’t know why people are searching for the word. The most obvious guess is that they don’t know what it means – a very troubling notion – but folks could also be searching xenophobia to ensure that they’ve spelt it correctly, to double check that they’re using it correctly or just to troll us into dubbing this very bleak option the “word of the year.”
There is, however, one thing we know for sure: 2016 is the actual worst.