Dictionary.com Makes a Weird Choice for Word of the Year

Dec 2, 2019  •  Post A Comment

Dictionary.com has settled on the word of the year for 2019, and we’d be surprised if you could guess that the word is “existential.”

“Climate change, gun violence, the very nature of democracy and an angsty little movie star called Forky helped propel ‘existential’ to Dictionary.com’s word of the year,” the AP reports. “The choice reflects months of high-stakes threats and crises, real and pondered, across the news, the world and throughout 2019.”

The report quotes John Kelly, senior research editor for the site, saying: “In our data, it speaks to this sense of grappling with our survival, both literally and figuratively, that defined so much of the discourse.”

The AP adds: “The word earned top of mind awareness in sustained searches at Dictionary.com in the aftermath of wildfires and Hurricane Dorian, and mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas. It also reared itself in presidential politics and pop culture, including Forky the white plastic spork who was the breakout star of ‘Toy Story 4.’

“The soiled utensil is convinced his destiny is in the trash, until he embraces his purpose as a treasured toy of kindergartener Bonnie.”

Said Kelly: “Forky underscores how this sense of grappling can also inspire us to ask big questions about who we are, about our purpose.”

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