It’s Official: The Word of the Year is “Austerity”

What's Hot


5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

Giving Thanks: Why Foreigners Find America AmazingAround The House

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

The 10 Best Ways to Blow Your MoneyCredit & Debt

7 Foods That Can Lengthen Your LifeFamily

The 50 Hottest Toys of the Past 50 YearsFamily

New Email Phishing Scam Targets Amazon ShoppersMore

7 Government Freebies You Can Get TodayFamily

How do you know 2010 was a rough year? Check out the words we looked up in the dictionary the past 12 months.

One of these words is not like the others…

  1. austerity
  2. pragmatic
  3. moratorium
  4. socialism
  5. bigot
  6. doppelganger
  7. shellacking
  8. ebullient
  9. dissident
  10. furtive

According to the editors at Merriam-Webster.com, these were the top 10 words searched on the popular dictionary website in 2010. And only one of them, ebullient – “showing liveliness and enthusiasm” – is a happy word.

As a sign of the times, austerity – “enforced or extreme economy” – came in first.

Austerity clearly resonates with many people,” said Peter Sokolowski, a Merriam-Webster editor. “We often hear it used in the context of government measures, but we also apply it to our own personal finances and what is sometimes called the new normal.”

So this begs the question: What was the word of the year in 2009? It was admonish, because politics dominated the national conversation.

Admonish shot to the top of the list three days after Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during a speech made by President Obama, and it remained among our top look-ups for weeks,” Sokolowski said. “When the House announced plans to ‘admonish’ Rep. Wilson, the word was understood to be technical or official, and it has been repeated often in coverage of recent contentious political issues. While this particular story wasn’t very important in the context of a year’s worth of news, it triggered enormous interest in this word.”

In 2008, the word of the year returned to finances: bailout, “a rescue from financial distress.” What will be the word for 2011? While they may include partisan and gridlock, here’s hoping the word for the new year is recovery.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Missed HBO’s ‘Westworld’? Here’s How to Watch it, Along With Everything on HBO, Free

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,753 more deals!