Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year Is...

Let's just say it's a pragmatic choice

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 15, 2011 6:50 AM CST
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(Newser) – Merriam-Webster’s word of the year—pragmatic—may not be exciting, but at least it’s slightly less depressing than last year’s word, austerity. The editors chose the word because it was looked up so often on its online dictionary, particularly before August’s debt ceiling vote and during the congressional supercommittee’s meetings. For those who didn't get around to looking it up, the adjective means practical and logical, the AP notes. Some may have expected “occupy” to win, but it was not searched for as often; it may, however, still end up as the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year

“‘Pragmatic' is a word that describes a kind of quality that people value in themselves but also look for in others, and look for in policymakers and the activities of people around them," explains the president and publisher. Austerity did make this year’s list as well. The rest: ambivalence, insidious, didactic, diversity, capitalism, socialism, vitriol, and "apres moi le deluge,” a quote attributed to King Louis XV of France that means, "After me, the flood," and refers to people who don’t care what happens after they’re gone. Click to see last year’s list.

A pencil points out Pragmatic, Merriam-Webster's annual word of the year in Boston, Wednesday Dec. 14, 2011.
A pencil points out "Pragmatic", Merriam-Webster's annual word of the year in Boston, Wednesday Dec. 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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