“Paranoid” is the 2016 Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year
From Cambridge U. Press:
The Cambridge Dictionary team have chosen paranoid as their Word of the Year for 2016. Researchers examined the data from the hundreds of millions of searches on dictionary.cambridge.org to see which words sparked the most interest in 2016, and found that paranoid stood out as the clear frontrunner.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the Cambridge Dictionary team saw such a large spike in searches for paranoid after what has been a truly eventful, and indeed worrying, year. In June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, causing great uncertainty in the UK and across Europe (even now, the only certainty we have is that Brexit means Brexit); then, in November, after a brutal and divisive campaign, the people of the United States elected businessman Donald Trump as president ahead of politician Hillary Clinton, in one of the most extraordinary political stories of modern times. Add to this the ongoing backdrop of a bloody civil war in Syria, several terrorist attacks around the world and a number of shock celebrity deaths.
Paranoid wasn’t the only instance where world events have influenced search spikes, with the data highlighting large increases in words along a similar theme: anxiety and chaos; increases in prejudice, bigotry and bullying; and people feeling nostalgic for what are perceived as simpler, more settled and happier times.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.