Merriam-Webster, the leading publisher of dictionaries in the U.S. as well as The A.V. Club’s go-to grammar argument settler, has announced its word of the year. The honor is bestowed at the end of each calendar cycle on the term that receives both “a high volume of lookups and a significant year-over-year increase in lookups at Merriam-Webster.com.” Typically, it’s a word that conveys some special significance, related to current events or significant cultural milestones for that year. And for 2015, the company has revealed that its Word Of The Year is “-ism,” which, yes, is not actually a word.
To be fair, Merriam-Webster chose “-ism,” a suffix, as a stand-in for a broad swath of some of its most popular words this year, which is a polite way of saying it has a reason for calling something that isn’t a word the word of the year. The list of high-ranking words that end in “-ism” starts with “socialism,” the most looked-up word of the year, presumably because Americans are finally ready to embrace the proposals made by Karl Marx, and destroy the existing structures of power. (Merriam-Webster says it has a lot to do with Bernie Sanders, but that sounds like the cheap evasions of verbal “terrorism,” the second most looked-up word.)
From there, the list continues with “fascism,” driven in response to the Paris terror attacks—and by flaxen-haired jagoff Donald Trump and every other sentence that falls out of his permanently drooling gullet. “Racism” and “feminism” were also heavily searched terms, because America has no problems with race or femininity, and wants to understand why anyone would. The two most popular terms not ending in “-ism” were “marriage” (coinciding with the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage) and “minion,” because Minions was a movie that came out, and America’s educational system has failed its citizenry.
Merriam-Webster has released the complete list of its top words of the year, but as yet, no apology for bastardizing the very term “word” with its choice of Word Of The Year. We look forward to the company announcing its Complete Sentence Of The Year, “What is…”