Monday, December 08, 2008

Low Trust Word of the Year Courtesy of Merriam-Webster

By Jarvis Cromwell for The Reputation Garage

A majority of the most-looked up words in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary once again reflect the current historically low public trust environment.   In this year’s top ten the standout candidate for low-trust word of the year is “vet”, which comes in at #2.

Webster’s top ten list for 2008, based on total number of searches of their online dictionary, is as follows:

  1. Bailout
  2. Vet
  3. Socialist
  4. Maverick
  5. Bipartisan
  6. Trepidation
  7. Precipice
  8. Rogue
  9. Misogyny
  10. Turmoil

We doubt many people will have to look up the meaning of "bailout" in 2009.

The dictionary's list has been mirroring the low-trust environment for several years.  The #1 word for 2006, “truthiness,” was popularized that year by Stephen Colbert, who defined it as “truth that comes from the gut, not books.” Webster gives truthiness an alternative meaning as “the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than facts known to be true”.

We suspect many of us will be looking for a little more “truthiness” in 2009.

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