A five-syllable word that entered the English language in the late 1800s has been declared by Dictionary.com to be the Word of the Year for 2016. The word is “xenophobia.”
“The Brexit vote, police violence against people of color, Syria’s refugee crisis, transsexual rights and the U.S. presidential race were among prominent developments that drove debate — and spikes in lookups of the word, said Jane Solomon, one of the dictionary site’s lexicographers,” the AP reports.
The site defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.” The AP report notes that Dictionary.com “plans to expand its entry to include fear or dislike of ‘customs, dress and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own,’ Solomon said in a recent interview.”
Solomon said the word became a part of the English language in the late 1800s, adding that it comes from the Greek words “xenos,” meaning “stranger or guest,” and “phobos,” meaning “fear or panic.”