Merriam-Webster sent out a tweet this week subtly asking for help from the public in fixing the situation surrounding the lead contender for its "word of the year" honors. "'Fascism' is still our #1 lookup," it informed Twitter. "There's still time to look something else up." Without spelling out why that word has attracted so much attention in 2016, Mashable reports that several words "that will forever echo somewhere in the pits of our brains" have entered the vernacular this year at a brisk pace, including, per the online dictionary, "bigot, resurgence, diatribe, socialism, misogyny, [and] xenophobe." However, "fascism" has vaulted to the fourth-most-searched word in the site's history, per the Washington Post. "Guys, 2016 is so bad it made the dictionary sad," one Twitter user noted.
But MW apparently doesn't want to leave 2016 with fond thoughts of "a political philosophy, movement, or regime … that exalts nation and often race above the individual and stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition." And the internet came to the rescue, with people flooding the lookup tool with searches for "puppies," "squirrels" (that was a dog's request), and, finally, a word that could soon overtake "fascism" if people keep up the campaign. "'Flumadiddle' is now in our top lookups. Not as many as 'fascism.' But more than that phrase from Gilmore Girls," the MW account tweeted, referencing the "in omnia paratus" ("ready for all things") term used on the show. (Merriam-Webster made a controversial decision about hot dogs earlier this year.)