Capitalism, socialism top word queries of 2012, Merriam-Webster says
BY Associated Press
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 4:51 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - Thanks to the election, socialism and capitalism are forever wed as Merriam-Webster's most looked-up words of 2012.
Traffic for the unlikely pair on the company's website about doubled this year from 2011 as the health-care debate heated up and discussion intensified over "American capitalism" versus "European socialism," said the editor at large, Peter Sokolowski.
The side-by-side interest prompted the dictionary editors to settle on two words of the year rather than one for the first time since the accolade began in 2003.
"They're words that are in the national conversation," Sokolowski said from company headquarters in Springfield, Mass.
Democracy, globalization, marriage and bigot - all touched by politics - made the Top 10, in no particular order. The latter two were driven in part by the fight for same-sex marriage acceptance.
Last year's word of the year was austerity. Before that, it was pragmatic.
Other words in the leading dictionary maker's Top 10 for 2012 were also politically motivated. Harken back to Oct. 11, when Vice President Joe Biden tangled with Mitt Romney running mate Paul Ryan in a televised debate focused on foreign policy.
"With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey," Biden declared during a particularly tough row with Ryan.
The mention sent look-ups of malarkey soaring on tulsaworld.com/m-wdictionary, Sokolowski said, making for the largest spike of a single word on the website by percentage, at 3,000 percent, in a single 24-hour period this year.
Malarkey, with the alternative spelling of "y" at the end, is of unknown origin, but Merriam-Webster surmises it's more Irish-American than Irish, generally means nonsense. It also can mean "insincere or pretentious talk or writing," Sokolowski said.
Original Print Headline: Top word queries of 2012 tied to election