Forget “bae” and “feminist,” 2014 was all about the word “culture,” at least according to Merriam-Webster. The dictionary has named it this year’s buzzword, thanks to a huge jump in lookups over the past months.
Merriam-Webster attributes 2014’s preoccupation with defining phenomena (both pertinent and frivolous) in our society for the word’s popularity. Rape culture, celebrity culture and cultural appropriation, for example, were talked about a lot this year and it had folks turning to their dictionaries. “The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group,” Merriam-Webster writes, noting that it usually sees a spike in lookups for the word around the time when school starts, but this time the word had a strong showing all year long.
Nostalgia, insidious, legacy, feminism, je ne sais quoi (more of a phrase than a word, really), innovation, surreptitious, autonomy and morbidity rounded out the top 10 list. Pretty important words, if you ask us.