Merriam-Webster characterizes surreal as “marked by the intense absurd reality of a daydream, ” with its synonyms being astounding and magnificent .
The dictionary publisher built their choice due to the high magnitude of lookups “surreal” received in 2016.
The word spiked after the Brussels terror attacks in March, the takeover assault in Turkey, the terrorist attack in Nice, and the U.S. referendum in November, according to the site.
Merriam-Webster editor at large Peter Sokolowski noted in a press release how unexpected it was that the word had been so frequently searched.
“Historically, surreal has been one of the words most scoured after misfortune, notably in the days following 9/11, but it was associated with a great variety of narratives this year, ” he said.
“Surreal” was an even more remarkable win for Word of the Time when you consider that both “puppy, ” “flummadiddle, ” and “fascism” were all trending this month. “Fascism” was extending the multitude for a while, but in an attempt to, you know , not have “fascism” be the Word of the Time, the tribes at Merriam-Webster sent out a call to arms to ask people to scour literally anything else.
But don’t worry: such elections was not rigged. Merriam-Webster assured us all weeks ago that they’d select a winner appropriately.
“Our Word of the Year cannot be rigged. We encourage people to look up new words at all hours, especially if those texts are strange 19 th-century Americanisms or statements for cute doll-like characters, but our Word of the Year is based on year-over-year increased number of lookups, ” they said on their area . “We look for a word which got a high number of lookups and increased substantially in popularity when compared to previous years.”
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