Each year, the word nerds at Dictionary.com 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:
2. fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself: