The Suffix '-ism' Is Merriam-Webster Dictionary's 'Word Of The Year'

Dec 16, 2015 08:10 AM EST | By Maria Leonila Masculino

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Merriam-Webster dictionary has announced its word of the year and it is technically not even a word.

Time reports the three-letter suffix "-ism" is the American dictionary-creator's top choice of 2015. The company announced its winning 'word' on Tuesday after terms like "socialism," "terrorism," racism" and "feminism" appeared on top of this year's search list.

"These words reveal our curiosity and our engagement," Merriam-Webster Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski said in a statement. "We're looking at the news through the prism of vocabulary. A definition can be the beginning of reflection. This year, we've certainly had a lot on our minds."

The word "socialism" topped the trending list after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders described himself as a "democratic socialist" during his debate with Hillary Clinton. His statement led voters into confusion on what democratic socialism really is.

"Socialism is defined as 'a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies,'" the dictionary explains. "Democratic socialism is a form of government in which state regulation (without state ownership) would ensure economic growth and a fair distribution of income."

More people searched for the definition of "terrorism" following the mass killings at San Bernardino, California - which just came few weeks after the deadly Paris attacks.

The shootout in Charleston Church in South Carolina sparked searches for the word "racism" which was reportedly the root of the murderer's hatred.

Meanwhile, famous people like transgender Caitlyn Jenner, presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, actress Emma Watson, model Cara Delevingne, and comedienne Amy Schumer prompted users to lookup for the definition of "feminism" which is among the trending social issues today.

Merriam-Webster started its annual "word of the year" since 2003. This year's announcement followed Oxford's declaration of its own word of choice: "emoji" and Dictionary.com's "identity."

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